Review – Fear Case #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Fear Case #1 (Dark Horse Comics) cover A (detail) by Tyler Jenkins
  • Writing - 8/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
  • Overall - 8.3/10

Fear Case #1

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Colorist: Hilary Jenkins
Maturity Rating: Mature
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 3, 2021

What is in the case? It has been around for centuries; the greatest wars and most woeful tragedies seem to surround it. 

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Solve the Unsolvable in Fear Case #1

The gang is back in Fear Case #1. Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins, and Hilary Jenkins from one of my favorite series, Grass Kings, come together once again to bring us an intriguing mystery. The oldest case in the Secret Service’s files has never been solved. First reported in WWII, but speculated on centuries later. An item that seems to be at the center point of history’s major events and tragedies. An item that, if given to you, you have to give away in three days or something terrible happens and it goes to the one you love the most. If you open it, you die. Every new Agent gets this case and a year to work on it. Agents Winter and Mitchum have three weeks left in Fear Case #1.


Fear Case #1 (Dark Horse Comics) cover C by Francesco Francavilla
Fear Case #1 (Dark Horse Comics) cover C by Francesco Francavilla

Matt Kindt can be a strange, yet extremely emotional writer. He delivers interesting and weird stories, but also gets to the heart of his characters as well (see Ether). I am always interested in books he writes. I may not always love them but he always brings something I was not expecting. Fear Case #1 definitely builds intrigue into a strange mystery with some fascinating characters.

I can’t help but get a kind of True Detective type feel from the beginning of Fear Case #1. It starts off with some tremendous dialogue detailed by Kindt that gets us right into the heads of the two Secret Service agents, Winter and Mitchum. Just a fantastic sequence that lets you get to know these characters quickly. 

I dig the weirdness of Fear Case #1. Though I did spend a good amount of time speculating whether the Secret Service actually did stuff like this. Which, yes, apparently they do. Okay, not this supernatural stuff, maybe? But they are a federal agency that doesn’t just protect people.

 It is an odd mystery, that will have you questioning what, exactly, it could be. The characters themselves are interesting to follow. I mean, it is basically the “buddy cop” type formula. But there is a reason for it to be prevalent, because it works and Kindt does a great job with it. It is a nice odd-couple vibe and Kindt plays off the two characters well.


If you look at my reviews of Grass Kings then you know, for me, Tyler Jenkins‘ art style is one that grew on me. At first I was not a huge fan, but then I enjoyed it immensely by the end of that series. He continues to have that wonderful thin linework with an odd jagged tint to it. His style is supremely original and creates a story in and of itself.

I do love the almost “whimsical” aspect of his art. His characters always seem to have this flowy essence to them. Tyler does a delightful job of adding in some great background details as well. He fully details the world that helps to engulf you in the story. 

Hilary Jenkins’ color style always fascinates me. It fits well with Tyler Jenkins’ style. Fear Case #1 seems to have a “chalky”, more textured look to it. I was expecting a bit more water-painted type stylings. But this darker-toned, textured look fits right at home with a more horror/supernatural bent detective story.


Fear Case #1 is a great start to a new story. Kindt does a solid job of getting the reader invested right away. While some story points still need to be fleshed out, for a first issue, it is a solid start. The two main characters make for a good odd-couple buddy-cop system. While it may take a little for the art style to grow on you, it is wonderfully vivid and completes this moody, gothic detective story. If you are in the mood for something new, yet familiar at the same time, Fear Case #1 is something you may want to pick up for an interesting read.

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