Hotell #1

by Nick Devonald on March 18, 2020

Writer: John Lees
Arist: Dalibor Talajić
Colours: Lee Loughbridge
Letters: Sal Cipriano

Hotell #1 is the first of four issues in a new horror anthology series from AWA studios, under their Upshot label. It’s a mature title which is shown in the content and leaves it free to tell the tale the way they want. The title comes from the Hotel’s neon sign, where the O & T are faded and a giant red L has been graffitied at the end, cleverly spelling Hell (or Hotell).

The Pierrot Courts Hotel(l) only appears “if you’re in need? If you’re truly desperate for shelter, sanctuary or secrecy?”. It’s an interesting premise, especially when it’s unclear whether this truly is a sanctuary or not, the Hell in the name suggesting not. We’re introduced to our narrator, Jack, who appears to be talking to the reader. He manages to come across as a pleasant, older gentleman, yet something in his manner and appearance unnerve you right from the start. He then proceeds to tell us the first tale of the anthology, following a pregnant woman, Alice, on the run from her abusive boyfriend.

This story works quite well as a stand alone story, time will tell how the anthology will work overall, but this is a solid start. And since Lees’ and Talajić are both returning for the rest of the anthology chances are it’s going to be a great series. The story unfolds like an episode of the X-Files or Twilight Zone. Fans of either are sure to be drawn to this comic.

We’ve got supernatural goings on, mysterious dreams and the growing suspicion that something isn’t quite right here. The reader is more aware than Alice about what’s going on which helps build up the tension as the story progresses.

John Lees’ writing is good, the tension builds as the story progresses. The horror is real, both the supernatural and more natural in the form of the abusive boyfriend. We find ourselves caring for Alice who only wants to do what’s best for her unborn child. The ending is dark, twisted, and satisfying.

Dalibor Talajić’s art is suitably weird and creepy which helps set the tone. He manages to bring the horror, both the mundane and supernatural, to life brilliantly. The dream sequences are truly a work of art, there’s elements of being both unnatural and creepy while also having an air of natural innocence about it. A contradiction that works really well and fits the tone of the comic perfectly.

Horror fans are going to love this, and between this and all the other comics releasing this week from AWA Upshot mark this as a publisher to keep an eye on. I’m excited to read the rest of the anthology, which is from the same creative team, and discover more chilling and creepy stories unfolding in the Pierott Courts Hotel.

Our Score:


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