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HALLOWEEN TEAM #1 (review)—”Matches flare hot when struck”

Writer: Danny Baram

Artist: Matt Shults          

All-New All-Awesome Comics, 2023

THE KID LIVES in a bad neighborhood. He ignores it, best he can. Work keeps him too busy to notice much. He figures he needs a girlfriend to fill his scant spare time. Gets an online date with a girl who claims in her bio, “you’ll find me at the party [fill in the blank] with the other weirdos, summoning evil spirits on the Ouija board.” Just his kind of girl.

Dates usually suck. This one sparks.

There you have the whole first issue of the just-out four-issue mini-series timed for the holidays, HALLOWEEN TEAM, by writer Danny Baram and artist Matt Shults. I’m steamed I can’t say more. I only have the first issue. Anxious to see what comes next.

No monsters here, no gore-splattered pages. Not yet. A little prologue shows five kids, a pentagram of kids, standing around a campfire in the woods framed by six logs set in a hexagram, swapping scary supernatural stories. Here is the original Halloween Team, detective kids scoping out weird mysteries in their small town. The day we arrive twenty years later in the dull life of Tommy, one of the original gang, the team is about to get called back together.

We have no idea what the team did before, nor who they are now; and any frights they might fight or expose, or whatever they do, are so far only scary suspicions and goth talk, mostly from semi-adult Tommy. The five kids are three boys and two girls, all distinct body types, red hair, dark hair, blonde hair, and so on. Vivid expressions and chatter gives each a definite character, even in the quick couple pages around the campfire.

Then, poof, into the present, dreary world. The glimpse into Tommy’s office life looked too unfortunately real. His old courtyard apartment looks all right, so long, as he thinks, his neighbors will just stay indoors and keep their mysteries to themselves.

At last though, indifference is impossible. Somebody snatches Tommy’s girl.

“I need you to help me,” she texts. Tommy gasps. By now, I am sure he is off, eager to save a dangling romance; and most likely along the way finding monsters, or at least as hinted at one point, ghosts.

The message so far seems to be, real life is creepy enough. Halloween is here to celebrate the creeps. Hooray for the monsters among us, living and dead. Save yourself if you can.

[Editor’s note: This title is available on Amazon – Halloween Team #1 eBook : Baram, Danny, Shults, Matt : Kindle Store ]