Deep in the Amazon lives a creature many locals know and fear. This monster drowns you and fills your lungs with the black mud from the banks of the river. Unfortunately, journalist Kate Marsden has her head filled with work, specifically tracking down a killer. Neurotic, sleep deprived, and a bit judgmental of local superstitions, our journalist hero doesn’t realize she is on a collision course with the creature she doesn’t believe in.

I grew up a fan of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I always connected with the character and the exotic aesthetics that go along with the monster. Yes, the original suit is a bit hokey to current special effects, but the story of a misunderstood monster in the Amazon was intriguing and ambitious for 1950s Hollywood. Despite having multiple sequels, nothing has ever felt like it captured the heart and excitement of the original 1954 film. That’s why I was intrigued to get an advance copy of issue #1 for the new Universal Monsters comic, The Creature from the Black Lagoon Lives.

A story that’s somewhere between Jessica Jones and Indiana Jones

The four-issue series from Skybound, which drops its first issue in stores April 24th, feels like a noir thriller reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Writers Dan Waters (Home Sick Pilots, Lucifer) and Ram V (Batman: Detective Comics, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr) create a story that not only understands the mystery of “the creature” but also how to write a noir protagonist whose imperfections make her relatable and cool. She feels somewhere between Indiana Jones and Jessica Jones. She’s flawed, beautiful, selfish, and, despite knowing it would end horribly, I think I’d want to date her.

The style of art also adds to that feeling of a classic adventure serial. Artist Matthew Roberts (Manifest Destiny) creates characters that feel timeless and in some ways, familiar. Just by looking at these characters, I understood how they talked, their body language, and when we meet our monster, it feels like an old friend from the movies I’d seen, but with a new twist that feels more expressive, even when the creature is lurking in the shadows.

The art of ‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon Lives’ feels both contemporary and classic

A major highlight for me was the color palette chosen by colorist Dave Stewart (Hellboy, Ultramega). The choice of using earth tones and hues of green makes certain pieces stand out. Marsden’s blue jacket stands out, as does a red and blue Tuk-Tuk driving through town. They feel highlighted through Stewart’s choice of color. Despite the cool greens, the earth tones also add a feeling of heat. I can feel the humidity of the Amazon through the pages. Those tans and browns also add to the classic feel of the story. It just all feels Indiana Jones-like. Who doesn’t love Indiana Jones?

Overall, the first issue is a stellar introduction back into Creature lore. I feel connected to Kate Marsden. It makes me want to visit South America. I want to read the next issue. Unfortunately, I’ll now have to wait like everyone else. I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy. The first issue is masterful storytelling in any medium.

Pick up a copy of Issue #1 of The Creature from the Black Lagoon Lives beginning April 24th, 2024.

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