I’ll say this for Something is Killing the Children: it absolutely lives up to its title. Using art that shows spiky black shapes attacking kids, I would say this is not a series for anyone sensitive to that sort of thing. But hey, it’s right there in the title and everything!
That said, the second volume of this Boom Studios’ series suggests the monsters may not be the only problem.
To review a bit: Erica Slaughter is a young woman who hunts monsters. Normally, these things are only visible to children because children really believe they exist. To adults, well, something horrible happens to local kids until Erica or someone likes her shows up to deal with the monsters, and even then, adults never really learn what exactly happened. Erica seems to have been doing this for a while, and she knows how people will react even as she works to fight monsters. And, at the end of the first volume, while she was successful in killing the monster hunting kids around the small town of Archer’s Peak, she also realizes the thing was a female that just gave birth to a little of five mini-monsters.
This volume makes things a little worse at it turns out this variety of monster, when young, is only solid while feeding, and they won’t eat just anything.
That said, Erica has other problems. It turns out she works for the House of Slaughter, an organization that appears to have been founded by St. George, and they aren’t happy with her, nor have they been for quite some time. They’re dispatching another agent, a young man named Aaron, to clean up the mess they believe Erica has made in Archer’s Peak. Apparently, Erica is a problem member of the organization, mostly in that she cares more about collateral damage and the rest of the House sees no harm using some of the kids who saw the monsters and lived as bait, and bait they don’t necessarily feel the need to keep alive.
This was another strong volume from writer James Tynion IV, and the thing I noticed most was how the story sets up that the House of Slaughter might, in their own way, be worse than the monsters themselves. The monsters are bad because, you know, they kill and eat children in the messiest way possible, but they also seem to be mindless creatures. The House comes across as at best apathetic to other people. It’s less about saving children as it is killing monsters, and any way that leads to that while keeping the House’s existence a secret is far more important than protecting the innocent. In other words, Erica’s problem is she wants to be a hero when she was mostly just trained to be a hunter. It’s a distinction the book is making clear in that Erica’s biggest fault as far as the House is concerned is that she actually cares.
So, what I see here is a series about monsters that kill children, but with a compelling lead figure that has problems beyond just saving the lives of innocent kids. I can get behind that, just with the caveat that this series is not for the timid.
9.5 out of 10 disturbing kid drawings.