House of Slaughter Vol. 1: The Butcher's Mark
James Tynion IV & Tate Brombal, story; Tate Brombal, script; Chris Sheehan, illustrator; Miquel Muerto, colorist; Werner Dell'Edera, designs & development
BOOM! Studios, 2022

This prequel to the series Something Is Killing the Children shows the workings of the monster-hunting order House of Slaughter that trained Erica Slaughter.  In that series, Aaron Slaughter was Erica's handler and rival. But before he donned the black mask, Aaron was a teenager training within the House of Slaughter. Surviving within the school was tough enough--Aaron had to compete against cold-blooded students who seem to have been raised to do nothing but hunt monsters--but it got even more complicated when he fell for a mysterious boy destined to be his competition. Jace (the Butcher) was a legacy hunter, but he came to the House of Slaughter only for revenge. Fifteen years later, Aaaron was sent to kill Jace in retribution. But he found a way to reunite with his lover while still satisfying the House of Slaughter. The promise of the Butcher's return at the end of the collection is welcome. Co-creators James Tynion IV and Werner Dell'Edera were only minimally involved in the creation of this story, but writer Tate Brombal and artist Chris Sheehan (aided by regular series colorist Miquel Muerto) did a great job maintaining the tone of the series, visually and narratively.

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