Beware The Creeper #1 Review

Reviewer: Mathan Erhardt
Story Title: Act I

Written by: Jason Hall
Penciled and Inked by: Cliff Chiang
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: John Workman
Edited by: Will Dennis
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

Series writer Jason Hall said, “This ain’t your father’s Creeper.” He’s right. Set in Paris in the 1920’s, the only thing that ties this series with any previous Creeper appearance is its title. I admit initially I thought this was an Elseworlds type story. But there are no familiar names, faces or characters. Hell even the Creeper herself shares only the basic red and green costume motif with the DC character of the same name. This is an original story with no continuity to bind it.

This issue introduces the cast. We have Madeline Benoir, a chaste, wholesome woman, haunted by her parents death who finds relief in the Church and cares for her sister Judith, who exudes sex appeal and is a hedonist whose dreams of devils and costumed figures find their way onto her canvas. There is also Inspector Allain, a good cop on a corrupt force, who has a heart of gold, and it belongs to the freewheeling Judith. Lastly we have Mathieu Arbogast a struggling painter from a respectable family, who lusts for Judith and has quite the mean streak.

The issue opens with an attack on a prostitute by a man whose identity is concealed. From there we meet everyone. Judith convinces Madeline to go to a party, which is busted up by the inspector, but not before Judith can spurn the advances of Arbogast. While Judith goes off to continue her revelry, Allain and Madeline decide to share a moment. Judith arrives at her apartment and is brutalized by a man in a devil mask (presumably the same man from the opening scene) who utters but one word “Beware.” Madeline comes home to find her sister. Flash forward three weeks; Arbogast comes home one night to find a cackling costumed woman on his balcony. She says only one word “Beware.”

Hall does an amazing job of sucking you in. Madeline and Judith are such opposites that I swore I was reading a twist on the whole “Fight Club” scenario. At first I was bored, but by the end I was pissed that I had to wait a whole month for the next installment. Speaking of months, the dates kind of threw me, but eventually I caught on. Chiang is a great artist. If the cover alone doesn’t grab you, then you must be blind. The interior art doesn’t disappoint. Being that I have never been to Paris in the year 1925 I couldn’t tell you what it was like, but I believed that I was there. Every character is distinct, and Judith’s paintings jump off the page. Actually the whole crew deserves accolades, the book looks fantastic.