In Review: Pumpkinhead #5

Fans of the films will not be disappointed.

The covers: Four to find for this finale, with the A cover by Kyle Strahm being a real surprise. This has the title character appearing from the right, with only its head, tail, and a bloody hand showing. The character is really loosely drawn, hurting its effectiveness to frighten. What really surprises is that the demon is against a bright violet background. I wouldn’t think that such a combination of monster and colors would work, but it does, very well, in fact. The B by Blacky Shepherd is a super cover. This has the vengeance demon walking forward through a pumpkin patch, with a gnarly tree behind it as well as powerful full moon. The creature looks great, with the colors really showing off its muscles, and the setting excellent. This is a great illustration. The C a B&W Incentive and is the A without the colors. It looks hurried. Colors definitely helped this image. Better is the D, another B&W Incentive, which is the B without the colors. This looks great in black and white. I like this one colored and in its pre-colored state. Overall grades: A C+, B A, C D+, and D A

The story: The demons have beaten Pumpkinhead to the ground. One of the creatures vomits green bile onto the title creature, causing its flesh to melt. Nearby Ernst Kinkade screams, feeling the same pain as Pumpkinhead since he’s bonded to the vengeance demon. Haggis tells the survivors around her what’s happening and another character confirms what she says, relating that the same thing happened to Ed Harley when he called the creature years ago. Cullen Bunn then has his surviving cast barge into a house for a safety and to use the owner’s car so she take three into the woods to stop Pumpkinhead. It was neat to see where the Bellworths and Reese have ended up and whom they were talking to do. This new character meshed well with the established villains. Where Sheriff Ferris and the other three go was great, with some surprising, though appropriate, action occurring. I do have one concern about the story and that’s the peril a character is in on Page 5 and isn’t addressed again until Page 13. That’s a really long time for this character to survive before his fate is revealed. I do have concerns that this individual would not live. However, Page 15 plows the story forward to show what happened to the demons and this leaves the reader with absolute dread as to what Bunn is going to have happen next. While the action at the motel was predictable, it’s intercut with what’s happening with the heroes and that’s terrific. I love seeing characters placed in a situation where their decision will result in losing no matter what they choose to do. The final panel on 15 is just awesome, summing up a character’s personality perfectly. The one laugh on 17 is also terrific stuff. The final page puts a great coda on this tale, giving one individual some surprising sympathy and necessity. I wish this speech could have been given a little earlier, though it’s tough to do so when pursued by a demon. This was a great conclusion. Overall grade: B+

The art: Blacky Shepherd is a terrific artist and a good fit for this series. The design of the demons is great and the flesh melting sequence on Pumpkinhead is ghastly and gross. The reaction of Ernst in the first panel on Page 2 is outstanding, with him looking like a monster himself. Haggis’s reaction to the old man’s pain is wonderful as her steady gaze tries to tell the others that his suffering won’t end until it’s run its course. The bottom of Page 5 revisits this bonding and it’s awesome. A new setting and character are introduced on 6 and both are good. I really like the panel that introduces the new character; his sleazy nature is brought to life by his look and actions. The reaction in the fourth panel on 9 is outstanding. With Shepherd leaving what’s so much worry unseen by the reader increases the worry considerably. The actions on 12 are shocking and violent, but that’s what the story needs to wrap up this strand of the story. The hot mess that tops Page 13 is outstanding. Also neat is the fourth panel on the page that teases a character’s condition. The entrance on 14 is dramatic and I love the stance of this character at the bottom of 15, looking exactly like the character in the films. The glee of one character in the second panel on 16 is as horrific as the violence that’s been shown on other pages. The top two panels on are 19 are wonderful. The book ends perfectly with the images on the final page, with that last panel wonderful. Shepherd creates horror and drama excellently. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors of this book by Arancia Studio are perfection. Look at how bright the first page is, considering it takes place in the woods at night: the demons’ flesh stand out and the bile is a disgusting luminescent green. The flesh on the humans is a bright pink that has them popping off the page in their dark settings. The interior of the house the survivors go into has blue-green walls that make the characters stand out, especially Ferris in her orange uniform. The interiors of the motel have a sick yellow-orange tinge, making the setting seem seedy. When blood flies in this book it’s a bright crimson, demanding the reader’s attention and being a shock. The blues in the second panel on 19 are outstanding. The book ends in a very dark setting, but the sole character’s clothes really make the individual stand out. Overall grade: A+

The letters: A Larger World Studios’ Troy Peteri creates this issue’s speech for Pumpkinhead, sounds, yells, dialogue, Haggis’s unique speech, one demon’s speech, frail dialogue, and the final two words that end this series. I love the title character and Haggis’s unique speech, making each stand out from the normal cast. There are lots of sounds for all the action in this issue, with my favorite being on 12. Without question, the lettering on this book adds to the scares and thrills of this tale. Overall grade: A+

The backup story: Bunn, Kyle Strahm (the artist), and Peteri close out Gluttony’s tale beginning with the demon pulling the witch by the hair to her final fate. Previously Gluttony ate the young Pumpkinhead, so there’s no salvation to find for the witch. Or is there? A great ending to this tale with it hinting this tale could be resumed. The art is great, with the first panel on the second page the spectacular climax this short story needs. Overall grade: A

The final line: Dark demonic dealings come to a satisfying climax to this series. The conclusion ends violently, but with a surprising amount of sympathy for one character. The visuals capture the terrors, human and supernatural, excellently. Fans of the films will not be disappointed. Overall grade: A-

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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