The Neighbors #1 Review: Poorly Executed Creepiness

The Neighbors begins like most horror comics' do in their first issue, intentionally withholding as much information as possible while sprinkling in supernatural elements on top of eye-catching imagery and unnerving situations. And while Letizia Cadonici's artwork shines with background details and depictions of the lifelessness in certain people's faces, there's not much else to talk about in this uneven opening issue.

The story plays into a horror trope we've seen plenty of times before – a family moves to a new town, the neighbors are acting odd and whatever sinister force that's puppeteering them has clearly targeted this family. It then goes through the expected plot beats of a few awkward interactions and ominous messages from the neighbors before the veil is slightly lifted to endanger one of the family members.

What's strange is how Jude Ellison S. Doyle uses social commentary throughout the issue, opting for a subtle approach on certain topics, then dropping an anvil with others. The family is comprised of a trans father (Oliver), a mother (Janet) who was married to another woman before choosing to leave her for Oliver and their two daughters (Casey and Isobel). Casey's frustration with how her family has recently changed is casually brushed aside with a joke and her choice to be a vegan is viewed more as a nuisance caused by teenage angst than a lifestyle choice. But just a few pages earlier Oliver's caution toward his neighbor is met with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, having him discuss Fox News before the comic even shows his face.

And for a comic that wants to discuss the concept of neighbors, the story doesn't seem all that interested in exploring the town or community Oliver and his family find themselves in. Sure, it's the first of five issues, but the story seems much more interested in getting right to the horror while only taking a passing glance at the setting. For a comic book featuring a cover with a horde of shadows grabbing Casey, this wasn't a particularly gripping read. 

Published by Boom Studios

On March 22, 2023

Written by Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Art by Letizia Cadonici

Colors by Alessandro Santoro

Letters by Becca Carey

Cover by Miguel Mercado