Comic books you should read: Whispers
Whispers - Cover #1
When I was a child, my parents bought me the Mysteries of the Unknown series from Time Life Books. There were fantastic horrors waiting in the covers of the books. Bigfoot, Aliens, Ghosts. All the stars of the paranormal were center stage for the amazing series of books. My favorite, however, was Psychic Voyages. The book went into great detail about out of body experiences, with real life accounts of the phenomenon. I thought it would be so awesome if I could just lie down and leave my body as I slept, visiting people and places all over. I remember being scared by the idea that I could get lost during a nocturnal journey and not find my way back to my body, resulting in a coma and quite possibly death.
It’s no wonder, then, that I am completely transfixed by Whispers by Joshua Luna. This six-part comic book series from Image Comics is the perfect combination of a compelling story mixed with riveting suspense and terrifying horror. While the Luna brothers (Joshua and Jonathan) typically work together on releases (such as Ultra, Girls and The Sword), Whispers is Joshua Luna’s first solo work. Each issue in the six-part series has been released between three and six months apart, giving the reader ample time for anticipating each issue.
Release dates for issues of Whispers are as follows:
Issue #1 – January 11, 2012
Issue #2 – April 4, 2012
Issue #3 – June 27, 2012
Issue #4 – October 31, 2012
Issue #5 – April 24, 2013
Issue #6 – TBD
Whispers - Cover #2
Whispers follows protagonist Sam, a troubled young man who struggles with his OCD and germaphobic tendencies. His mother appears to suffer from the same type of crazy, except it literally caused her to go crazy. Sam is clearly afraid he will travel down the same road as his mom. He begins to have odd dreams, where he leaves his body and visits his friends. While he doesn’t want others to view him as crazy, he has no reservations about sharing his dreams with his friends. It seems that he wants validation that he really is leaving his body at night and not going insane.
When he leaves his body again, Sam realizes that he can only visit those who he knows, and he ends up visiting his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa. She has let herself be consumed by a drug addiction and Sam finds her in trouble with a drug dealer named Tay over some missing drugs. Sam discovers he can influence the thoughts of those he visits and he convinces Vanessa to lie to Tay about the drugs. This act places her in potentially mortal danger. With his newfound powers, Sam knows that he must help Vanessa in her time of need, however he is drawn to the current center of his love, Lily. When he tries to dream-visit Lily to discover where he stands with her, he is pulled away against his will. Sam ends up in a strange location, faced with a terror he could never imagine existed.
Whispers does a fine job of moving story along and keeping the reader turning pages quickly. Despite his many quirks, Sam is a relatable and likable protagonist. His weaknesses and flaws make him all the more human, and the reader can easily find themselves pulled away into his journey. The reader truly wants him to win in the end, and never wants him to stop dream-flying. The supporting cast is developed just enough to be real, and how Sam interacts with each person only adds depth to his character.
The artwork, also by Joshua Luna, is beautifully drawn. Rich colors and gorgeous shading add fantastic detail to each character. These small details, sometimes overlooked by artists, give the reader a true sense of who everyone is and what they are feeling in each scene. The realistic manner of the art makes the reader believe that Sam is lifting up out of his body and floating from scene to scene.
Finally, there is the antagonist. He is presented in such a mysterious manner that the suspense of this unknown threat in the comic gives readers something to cling onto as each page turns. One can sense a true evil leaping off the page and can easily be terrified alongside Sam. Again, Luna has not missed a beat with the small details, with even the thought captions of the antagonist being in bold, thick red versus the usual thin, black outline.
Overall, Joshua Luna has accomplished much with Whispers. A wonderful plot, awesome characters, gorgeous artwork all mixed with just the right amount of fear and suspense. Whispers is a story you can’t quite get out of your mind long after putting down the comic book. If you like a bit of paranormal and suspense in your comics, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this series.
Some back issues of Whispers are available on Amazon or at your local comic book store. You can also purchase the series from the Image Comics website at http://www.imagecomics.com/search/?q=whispers.