The entire population of a small town disappears without trace. The military finds itself out of its depths and is forced to call in an experimental squad of super-powered misfits to solve the problem.
A bunch of flawed, reluctant heroes being brought together to solve a problem is now an overused comic book trope, but Vector Comics’ Nightmare Patrol brings a new edge to the format with a horror themed cast. The military’s top secret Project Phaeton includes a teenage hacker vampire, a therapist werewolf, a rockstar witch, and an unthinking golum.
Nightmare Patrol is packed full of action, with the monstrous quartet airdropped into a brutal battle almost immediately. We then shifts back and forward in time to show the team being developed through training, and being gathered together for the mission. Characters are gradually revealed via dialogue and action, rather than the commonly used trick of just dumping information on the reader, and we slowly get to know these people and their quirks.
We reviewed the first issue of Nightmare Patrol’s arc. Time is played with throughout this opening episode, as we move fluidly back and forward through the day before the main event. The backstory and set up are gradually revealed in this way. It’s an interesting structure, which feels like it should be complicated, but instead just flows.
Pencils, by JC, and colours, by Mae Hao, provides some fast moving action which remains clear and unmuddled throughout, full of heavy shadows which perfectly suit the mood. With unique and interesting panel designs – panels within panels, a page laid out almost as a clock face, full page splashes, or multipanel pans – Nightmare patrol is full of innovative page designs.
Nightmare Patrol isn’t perfect. There are moments when the dialogue feels a little stilted, and panels which contain a large amount of dialogue which results in a small tangle of word balloons which can make these conversations more difficult to follow. Overall through, Nightmare Patrol is well presented, with an intriguing plot and interesting characters, delivered via some excellent art.
In Nightmare Patrol, Vector Comics have taken what should be an already used idea, and through these sparks of originality brings new life to the format.