Based on a story by producers and screenwriters of the 2012 Silent Hill: Downpour video game, Anne’s Story follows corrections officer Anne Cunningham as she pursues escaped convict Murphy Pendleton through the misty streets of Silent Hill after their transfer bus crashes.
This 4-part Silent Hill comic series is penned once again by Tom Waltz who not only wrote the previous 2010 Downpour prequel comic, Past Life, but was also one of the screenwriters on the Downpour video game. Given this comic’s direct tie to a game I really enjoyed I’ve been highly anticipating this comic ever since its release date announcement a few months back.
Anne’s Story begins at Murphy and Anne’s fateful meeting shortly after the prison transfer bus crashes in Silent Hill. After surviving her great fall we follow a disoriented Anne as she tries to keep her wits about her when she experiences terrifying visions and relives moments from both her distant and recent past.
Unlike the previous Past Life comic series there’s no slow buildup to the horror the town inflicts on our dear protagonist. Within moments of her harrowing fall, Anne’s dark past takes on monstrous forms and the line between reality and her personal Otherworld is quickly crossed. With Anne barely surviving one frightful encounter after another this issue is definitely a roller-coaster ride from start to finish!
With this kind of non-stop action those unfamiliar with the Murphy’s own journey during the Downpour video game may find themselves just a bit overwhelmed. Even though the comic flashes back to how Anne found herself dangling from a cliff in the opening it’s confined to a single page. I definitely think if another page or two was dedicated to the actual prisoner transfer, bus crash, and finally Anne initial exchange with Murphy at the ravine the opening would have been less abrupt.
With that said, being quite familiar with plot of Downpour myself, I had no problem filling in the blanks left by the single page info dump. I followed along quite easily and was able to parallel Anne’s own situation with key events I experienced playing Murphy’s scenario in the video game. It was great to finally see what Anne had to go through while Murphy was a taking a much less…ah… direct route through Devil’s Pit.
Needless to say, the story had me hooked at page one!
Tristan “T-Rex” Jones‘ gritty and highly detailed art style is a perfect fit for the comic’s fast pace narrative. Jones’ solid line work, expressive characters, and paneling— expertly showing various angles on character movements and eye lines— made the ensuing high paced action simple to follow. Additionally, I thought there was enough visual cues in both Jones’ line work and coloring by Michael Spicer to easily discern exactly when and the type of area Anne had entered within Silent Hill— whether she was at the bottom of a mist covered raven or stepping off a dark train platform. Even if you are unfamiliar with the environments from the game, following Anne’s path through one nightmarish area to another in this comic was made pretty clear.
I got to say visuals is Anne’s Story definitely conveys the horror of Anne’s predicament very well given that Jones doesn’t shy away from depicting extreme violence or the grotesque. I really have to commend him because there’s one panel in particular (involving a closeup of a mangled hand…) that actually made me turn away in revulsion… This was the first time I’ve ever had this sort of reaction reading a comic! Even now I still find myself flinching just thinking about it!
Actually now I’m kind of laughing a bit at myself as I’m writing this because in retrospect I’ve seen worse things depicted in the Silent Hill franchise over the years but here this one little panel (no I am not posting it you will have to see it when you read the comic) is totally grossing me out!
So fellow Silent Hill fans, if you’ve been curious to see Anne’s experience during Silent Hill: Downpour you can’t go wrong with this comic series. I’m pretty impressed so far and definitely can’t wait to read the next issue!
Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story #1 is on sale from your favorite comic retailer 09/03/2014!
Need a second opinion? Be sure check my friend CJ Melendez’s review over on Rely on Horror!
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Big thank you goes to Tom Waltz for sending me an advanced digital copy of Anne’s Story to review for the site.