Review: ‘Redfork’ Is A Horror Fable Of The Supernatural And Mundane
by Tony Thornley
A dying Appalachian coal town makes a deal with a devil…
The best horror heightens the world outside our window, showing us that sometimes the everyday and mundane is as scary or worse than the monstrous supernatural. In TKO Studios’ Redfork it’s hard to see a difference…
In the latest of TKO’s releases, the studio gives us one of the most riveting tales of horror I’ve read in a long time. It’s an exploration of greed, poverty, hopelessness, and what a person would do to overcome it. It was created by Alex Paknadel, Nil Vendrell Pallach, Guilia Brusco, and Ryan Ferrier.
Six years ago, Noah McGlade took the fall for a crime he didn’t commit, just so his brother had a chance at a better life. Now after his time served, he returned home to Redfork, West Virginia. At first he has to battle drugs, illness and poverty, however after a coal mine cave-in a powerful supernatural force might change everything…
This is the first time that I got TKO’s business model. This series was impossible to put down, and I was glad to have it all in a format that I was able to read it straight through. What Paknadel, Vendrell, and Brusco do in these six issues is perfect.
It’s hard for any writer to step into a story with such a clear sense of character, setting and conflict defined so well, so quickly. However Paknadel does just that with ease. Within a few pages we understand that Redfork is the sort of place where you have to steal from the more affluent people in town because you need to pay the bills, and maybe do a little heroin afterwards.
All of that is even before the supernatural threat rears its head. Some of the worst monsters are hidden by a smile and the creeping eldritch horror here is no exception to that. Paknadel gives us a villain in Gallowglass who recognizes that he could unleash his horror on a city tearing itself apart at the seams. He captures the feel of a dying small American town, and adds an insidious force to capitalize on that, cruelly giving our characters hope while using its evil to take everything from them.
Where Paknadel’s story captures the spirit of a horror that preys on hope, Vendrell shows us why the characters needed that hope so badly. Along with Brusco’s mood-setting color work, he shows us every track mark, boarded over window, and sunken shoulder that when Gallowglass arrives with his hope, we know exactly why people jump at it. Then, when things take a turn for the grotesque, we still see the humanity in the horror, even as Gallowglass’s evil twists and breaks the characters.
This is a story that I cannot recommend enough. It’s horrifying and heartbreaking in equal measure, and it’s the perfect horror story for our upside-down and hopeless world.
Redfork is available now from TKO Studios.