Art by John Higgins
Published by Fox Atomic Comics
The Hills Have Eyes remake presented a faster, meaner animal living among the vast American wasteland. Luring wayward travelers into what literally became their “”dead end” is just a way of survival for the misshapen refugees of the atomic age. The Carters were one such unlucky family, coming face to deformed face with terrors you never dream possible as we go about our mundane lives. Only 4 would make it out alive, or so it seemed.
Hills 2 initiates a silent war as our military forces spill into the hills to back up scientists running tests on this poisoned patch of land. Unfortunately, the hills are still occupied and before long, army green turns to deep, blood red. Each movie ended in the typical Hollywood horror fashion, leaving plenty of room for a sequel, with the subtlety of a hammer on a bag of kittens, so you know there are more stories to come should the box office hold out. Still, there is even more that can be told. What happened between the first and second film? Better still, how did the residents of these irradiated badlands become those predatory creatures with faces even their momma’s dry heave over? Fox Atomic has the answers in The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning.
The Sawney Bean clan first came to this place along with so many others, dreaming of untold fortunes in gold buried beneath them. When the gold dried out, some left but the Bean clan remained with others who made a home among the acrid landscape. Years pass and the government decides one person’s community is just as good a place as any for the testing of good ole’ American firepower …namely the Atom Bomb. This is where the fun begins. Honest, hard working folk go head to hear with military forces that don’t take no for an answer and inadvertently pave the way for the birth of generations of human monstrosities. The animals we call man and woman have a miraculous will to survive…one might say is encoded right into our DNA. When faced with adversity, we adapt. In the case of the Sawney Bean clan, you could call it De-volution. Basically, they fucked their way to a brighter tomorrow. Sounds almost cheery, eh?
Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning spins an American tale, much in the way our Grandfathers sit with us when we are small and recall the events of their youth. These are usually happy memories, but America was built on the backs of others who often lay broken and battered for the sake of progress when the job is done. Hills is that sort of tale, only the broken and battered pick up the pieces and become reborn into living nightmares preying on anyone who cross their path. What’s more American that that? It ain’t called the land of opportunity for nothing! Also, keep in mind, it’s not exactly Grandpa in a rocking chair doing the telling. You’ll most likely be eaten when the story is done.
Comics have an excellent track record of taking a story told through film, adapting it to panels on a page with fantastic art, and then, if you’re lucky, continuing that story, answering all the “what ifs” you conjured up when the movie ended. Hills: Beginning is one such golden opportunity to build a history around a fairly simple premise, turning it into a multi generational epic you never expected. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray construct a tangible world from some pretty visceral architecture, carving out a new blueprint written in the language of revenge, violence and ultimately, survival. Amazing how fleshing out a story can turn insane, pick wielding mutants into a sympathetic family! Art from John Higgins; smacking of work I’ve personally come to love in a little book called Preacher; plays up the raw quality woven throughout the story. On every page, things go from bad to worse with a gritty coating over every face, home and even the landscape rendered. Anyone can flick red splotches onto a page. Not everyone can re-enact carnage like this.
Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning holds nothing back. I can say I was a fan of the remake, but the sequel left me with nothing more than a hope that a further installment might tell a new story instead of parading out the same old trappings. The Beginning goes a long way to fill my wish list! You finish reading, put the book down and immediately get the notion you need to wash your hands. There is enough blood and body parts littered throughout this book to satisfy any hardcore horror fan while telling a well planned, engrossing story at the same time. If only Hollywood could boast the same. It’s time, once more, that I start making my argument to have comic writers pen all movies and television in the future. Seems we’d be a hell of a lot better off. At the end of the day though, this is The Hills Have Eyes. Be prepared for mutant mayhem and mongoloid lovin … and lots of both. If you want pretty people, go read Witchblade.
4 out of 5
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