“THE HALLOWEEN LEGION: THE GREAT GOBLIN INVASION” (Comic Review)
There’s something strange happening in the little town of Woodland. Of course, this is one of those towns where something strange always happens, a spooky crossroad for all things that bump in the night. Such is the setting of THE HALLOWEEN LEGION, an all-ages story about a haunted circus, an unlucky city, and a Halloween-themed collection of heroes each imbued with unique powers. Don’t let the young reader tag fool you; with its clever writing and characters, the work is appealing for the weird kid in everyone, from new readers to experienced horror fans. THE HALLOWEEN LEGION: THE GREAT GOBLIN INVASION (now available from Dark Horse Comics) continues where the novella left off, this time pinning our heroes against invaders from space.
As the comic opens, we find our protagonists saving the day once again—this time, against an angry mummy who not only re-spawned a bunch of shrunken heads, but a giant, hungry alligator as well. With the defeat of the undead pharaoh, the team—made up of a ghost, a witch, a skeleton, a telekinetic fire starter, and a black cat—enjoys another job well done, but the witch suspects that there might be a new danger pending. The very next night, an unexpected solar eclipse occurs, confirming her suspicions, but little do they know that it marks the coming of The Great Goblin Invasion! People are disappearing all over town and it’s up to the team to stop the aliens before they spread to the rest of the country.
THE HALLOWEEN LEGION was originally an illustrated novella written by Martin Powell and illustrated by Danny Kelly. “The Great Goblin Invasion” (this time illustrated by Thomas Boatwright) is the series’ first attempt at comics, and though a bit bumpy, is a solid sequel to the book. The Halloween tale explores friendship, confidence, and all those good feelings that make the reader a better person without getting preachy about it. Each character manages to shine, standing on their own as well as working within the group. There’s an appreciation for the diversity a group of monsters can bring to a team. It’s certainly beneficial to have read the original novella, however, where you might better understand the character backgrounds and why some of their powers work as they do.
Boatwright’s art is perfect for THE HALLOWEEN LEGION graphic novel. It has an energetic, cartoony vibe reflecting the subdued “scary” artwork of kids’ movies like PARANORMAN and CORALINE—beautiful small town backgrounds with an eternal twilight theme and dotting the work with a signature scratchy ink style and a soft color mix. Unfortunately, the shorter, accompanying tale at the end of the comic “Once upon a Halloween,” while still written by Martin Powell, is illustrated by a different artist and suffers for it. An attempt at children’s illustration with no regard to traditional form or structure, it does not transfer well into sequential art.