Eden by Cullen Bunn (writer), Dalibor Talajic (artist), Valentina Briski (colorist), & Marshall Dillon (letter)
Eden by Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic is a fun, suspenseful comic book with a surprising, disturbing ending. Bunn quickly introduces the main characters and plot in the first four pages of this one-shot: Niles is a tattooist who has been mourning the loss of his wife and young child for a long time, we are led to believe, because when a beautiful and mysterious woman walks in, Niles’s friends and colleagues immediately start trying to set them up, showing that they believe Niles has been in mourning for too long of a time. The artist adds a serious touch to show Niles’s mourning: The names of Niles’s wife and child are tattooed across his arm.
The premise is that this mysterious woman comes in regularly without any tattoos, gets a new tattoo, and then comes back again without any tattoos. Niles is curious and wants to find out her secret. What he decides to do with that information causes the conflict that interrupts what had been on the way to becoming a serious, ideal romantic relationship. But Bunn finds a way to completely surprise the reader after what seems like a setup with a fairly generic man-meets-woman plot. But the plot quickly shifts and gets more and more interesting and disturbing as the story progresses. I can’t say any more without giving spoilers, but it’s really surprising what happens. But it is horror, and the reader should expect that from Bunn, a Stephen King of Comics in many ways (though not all of his comics have been horror. Nor have all of King’s books been horror.).
The artwork is quite good. It represents well the realistic and the horrific, essential qualities of this comic. Panel layout is also creative, often times including a larger borderless picture broken up with smaller inset panels. The style fits well the story and is able to show the mundane very convincingly before veering off into different possibilities that I cannot reveal. There’s not much more to add to the review of a forty-eight page one-shot. If you’re a fan of one-shots and horror, I highly recommend Eden. Bunn never disappoints.