I’ve not played Evil Within. I guess I should go ahead and throw that one out there as a disclaimer. While I do enjoy horror fare, Bloodborne, Amnesia, Outlast, and Resident Evil being among my preferred horror videogame choices, Evil Within was outside of my purview and purchases when it came out in 2014. It seemed cool, but I tend to wait for reviews on videogames, especially given how okay publishers have become with releasing outright buggy and broken messes in recent years (Arkham Knight and Arkham Origins were outright travesties on the PC and Xbox 360, respectively). The reviewers I tend to listen to on such games didn’t give it particularly high praise, so I never got around to playing it.
Evil Within: Interlude #1 takes place after the events of the first game and manages to summarize the events of it pretty well, with protagonist Sebastian Castellanos telling all of it to a police psychiatrist early on in the comic.
The plot is a little confusing, which is presumably the point. Castellanos is off his rocker a bit because of the events of the first game, and he is having a hard time getting back to “regular” police business. To make matters worse, there is a hulking serial killer about with a bag on his head using iconography from the events of the first game. Castellano’s daughter, Lily is missing, and he nor her mother have gotten a trace on her whereabouts yet. It’s been months, and what relationship he and her mother have had is deteriorating possibly beyond saving.
The rest of the runtime is banter between Castellano and his partner, conspiracies, and potential psychotic breaks for Castellano.
And it’s all…pretty good. I can’t say it’s great, but it is a decent horror read and is presumably a good holdover for fans looking forward to the second game.
Castellano is a well-rounded character. He is a detective with a lot on his plate and personal troubles threatening to overtake his professional career. He has seen horrific things due to the events of Evil Within. To make matters worse, those horrific things are beyond what those around him believe are possible, so they doubt him.
His partner is a bit of a twit, but he is a likable one. He’s not a bad guy; he just likes poking at Castellano and making glib jokes about grisly murder scenes.
The hulking killer is given a bit of a backstory from the aforementioned conspiracy. He’s not much of a character in the plot beyond that and the killing, and his visual design isn’t particularly inspired. He looks like a cross between the Birthday Boy killer from Batman: Earth One and the chainsaw guys from Resident Evil 4, and neither of those were exactly original visual designs to begin with.
The exposition dumps are the main hindrance in this comic. From Castellano essentially explaining Evil Within to his psychiatrist to secret agents explaining conspiracies in thought captions, there are many points where the plot slows down to explain itself.
The art is damn good though, and it works overtime to establish this oppressive atmosphere of horror. Szymon Kudranski and Damien Worm provide the artwork for Interlude, with Guy Major doing a part of the color work. These three put a lot of story and character just in the environments of most scenes, and this should be applauded. It’s really freaking good, and it fills in the gaps that even the exposition doesn’t get around to covering.
Overall, this is a pretty good read. As I said before, it’s not the greatest horror comic, but it does provide an engaging tale with solid characterization and great artwork. If psychological horror or Evil Within itself are your thing, definitely pick it up.
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