A mangled humanoid creature awakens near a desolate highway in the American Southwest. Everything it touches decays, but it gets stronger every time this happens. It also regains its memory; it was a man named Dwight Cochran. He was serving 32 life sentences with terminal cancer. However, a mysterious doctor arrived offering a cure, and Dwight underwent the doctor’s experiments.
The Rot #1 presents a horror tale with a theme of religion brought about by its God-fearing protagonist. It’s an interesting read, and its protagonist puts it in a bizarre intersection between Swamp Thing, the Mummy, and the Crow.
Whether this turns into a dark hero comic like Swamp Thing and The Crow remains to be seen.
The comic could do with more self-confidence. There are a few moments where it acknowledges the comic book nature of some of its plot beats, but the book would have been better just presenting them straight-faced and not worrying about it. Other times, it resorts to clichés or lines that feel like they’re trying a little “too hard.”
The ending and positioning the Rot as a possible hero is a little underwhelming, but the rest of the comic is so compelling and the Rot so unique a character that I’m willing to return for another issue.
The selling point of Rot and what likely garnered some of the attention it has is the art. Holy crap, this art is gorgeous. Artist Sean Seal provides some of the most wonderfully stylized and delightfully macabre artwork I’ve seen in some time. The closest known comparison that comes to mind is Clayton Crain, but even that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s unique and atmospheric to the point where the page itself looks sickly. The color palette is dark and at-times obfuscating, but it suits the book perfectly.
The Rot #1 is a unique, interesting, and gorgeous comic book. With a fantastic horror premise, mixing of religious themes with a wicked outlook on the world, and Sean Seal putting in artwork unlike anything I’ve ever seen, this book earns a recommendation. Check it out.
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