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Kolchak: The Night Stalker Files #2 – Review

The world's premier supernatural reporter finds himself on his way to Florida for a new job at the top tabloid newspaper in the country. As he's settling in though his next case is beginning without him. Two escaped convicts are fleeing the authorities through the Florida marshlands. One of the convicts has a shack deep in the marsh that he uses to hide out from the authorities. Unfortunately for the two men they run into a huge creature that sends them to meet their makers.

Kolchak on the other hand has piled everything he owns into his dumpy old car and driven from LA to Miami for an interview at The World Bulletin the only newspaper that is willing to hire him at this point in his career. Kolchak may deal with the supernatural, but he is still a professional journalist and doesn't plan on taking a job with a tabloid that specializes in dead celebrity sightings and diet fads. He arrives to his interview an hour and a half late and is coldly met by the front desk receptionist. He's saved by his future editor Archie Leach (very humorous name by the way) and taken to the news room floor.

Kolchak The Nightstalker Files #2 B CoverArchie lays it all out for Kolchak, he's to write a weekly column about anything he wants that will appear on page 5 of the paper and he'll have a byline on the front page. Kolchak is taken back by his offer, but still isn't seriously considering it until the salary comes into play. He's given a ridiculous amount of money and graciously accepts. After all his entire life's belongings are in his car and he has no money to live off of. As their business concludes Erin Cho busts into the office to complain to Archie. She's one of his top writers and she's upset by the man living out of his car that has parked in her spot. That man of course is Kolchak. After a moment Erin let's bygones be bygones and properly introduces herself to Kolchak.

While this is happening, the creature from the swamp strikes again this time capturing a man that nearly hit it with his truck. The creature drags the man off and eats half of his body leaving it for the authorities to find later. The wife of the man left behind comes out of her shock comma and informs the hospital about what happened. One of the orderlies puts in a call to the World Bulletin and info makes its way to Archie. He calls Kolchak into his office to offer him the story about the... Skunk Ape!

This is a very different comic then what people will be used to. It had a very human face to it and even though there are supernatural elements it's grounded in reality. Writer Chris Mills is very well informed about the different processes from law enforcement to the daily grind of a tabloid newspaper. What I found really great about the story is the characters and their development. Even the background characters that only have a couple lines of dialog come off believable and realistic. There are a few lines of dialog that aren't very good which is a shame since the stick out like a sore thumb because the rest of the dialog is so good, but I understand their purpose of being there to give the reader information on the plot.

The art is very fitting for the story. Jamie Martinez is the best choice for this pulply TV style comic. Everything from the background to the characters is very detailed and realistic. The panels and layout of the comic book really make the issue feel like a TV drama more than a comic book which is a compliment to the artist's talents. There are establishing shots and entire panels of background characters that lead us to our main character, it was a nice touch and a very strong presentation. The coloring of the book fits the story very well maintaining a red hue for the entire issue that gives the book the right feel.

This book has a great flow to it and is hard to put down once you start reading it. Personally I think it falls into a genre all its own making it hard to find anything else to compare it to, which is part of its appeal. Who wouldn't want a book that's nothing like they've read before? The next issues success really hinges on what the Skunk Ape looks like and how Kolchak reports on it. I picked up the first issue of the series and rather liked it as well, but this second issue is much, much better. The story has a real sense of direction that was missing in the first issue making it better book.

Story – 9.0
Plot – 9.5
Art – 8.5
Color – 9.0
Overall – 9.0


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