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Review – Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 (IDW Publishing)

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 (IDW Publishing) cover (detail) by Bill Underwood
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
    7.5/10

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1

Writer: Marieke Nijkamp
Artist: Yasmin Flores Montanez
Colorist: Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Danny Djeljosevic
Maturity Rating: Everyone
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: September 16, 2020

Blake is heading to her aunt’s house for the summer. She doesn’t have many friends offline, but she is one of the best Lore Hunter players around. That is, until she gets to her aunt’s town, where resident Lily is the best player in the game. But her aunt lives in Fever Swamp, and with werewolves around, life becomes vastly more interesting than a video game.

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7.5/10
7.5/10
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Head Back to Fever Swamp in Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1

I had been curious as to whether IDW was going to be publishing anymore Goosebumps comic books. The other entries I reviewed were solid but, in general, seemed like a better read in trade collection, which are all available now just in time for that spooky season! I was excited to see Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 pop up this week. One: we all know I am a big werewolf fan so obviously the cover got me excited. Two: every ’90s/Goosebumps kid knows The Werewolf of Fever Swamp and, as the title and cover imply, we are headed back to the dreaded marsh!

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 (IDW Publishing) cover by Bill Underwood
Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 (IDW Publishing) cover by Bill Underwood

In Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 we find ourselves introduced to twelve-year-old Blake. She, like most kids her age, is really into video games. She is one of the top players of Lore Hunter—she is even catching up to the top player, Lily! The summer might put a damper on her gaming, though, as she has to stay with her aunt. But it just so happens the town her aunt lives in is the same one that top Lore Hunter player Lily lives in. Maybe they will become friends, or maybe enemies? Who knows what summer will bring. One thing for sure: it’s going to be a strange summer, as her aunt lives in Fever Swamp and the legends of werewolves haunting the swampland are far from fiction!

Writing

Marieke Nijkamp guides us on this scary romp back to Fever Swamp. Nijkamp does a fantastic job of catching that Goosebumps type feel to the story. It is a little silly, a little fun, and has a good dose of scariness to it. Of course, it is kid-friendly as well. She does a great job of introducing us to the characters and world while not wasting to much time and getting the reader right into the mix.

Something story-wise just feels a tad bit off. I cannot really put my finger on it, but maybe from a scene setup, or just some character exchanges just feel a little weird, some scenes just didn’t seem to flow well. Not anything major, just something felt a little off at times.

I did, once again, like the pacing of Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1, from character introduction to leaving us with a nice cliffhanger. It has me interested to see where the rest of the story is going.

Art

Yasmin Flores Montanez handles the art in Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1. It is a nice change-up from the other three comic book Goosebumps volumes. Montanez still has a more animated type styling, but it has a little more of a realism to it than what we have seen previously. Good character detail throughout the issue. I love seeing little things on the kids’ clothing, backpacks, and rooms that flesh out their characters more.

I do think the characters have a bit of a “stiff” feeling to them, though. They feel very frozen or stagnant on the pages; also, the facial expressions/character acting feels a bit “stiff” as well. I would like a little more perceived movement on the pages.

Montanez and colorist Rebecca Nalty do a great job of catching the tone and feel of the story. A nice switch from bright and cheery to a very eerie swamp location. I love the design of the swamp, with the creepy trees and darkness to it. If you look closely, the shadows of the trees fall in forms of werewolves on the ground, which is a spectacular touch by Montanez. Also, fantastic-looking werewolf design. You know me, I am a stickler/very picky about how my werewolves look, and this one looks good.

Conclusion

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #1 is a great start to another Goosebumps comic book volume. From the first issue, this might be my favorite one so far. I am still not completely sold on releasing these as single issues and just not one paperback collecting the story. But I am glad they are still coming out, and hope these show up at book fairs across the country (if those are still a thing?). Travel back to Fever Swamp and remember “who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”.


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