TheFourthRail on ER #3
ELK'S RUN #3 by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Noel Tuazon (Hoarse & Buggy Productions)
Elk's Run #3 Cover by Datsun Tran
And with the third issue, it all clicks. While the story of an isolated militia town was intriguing, the first two issues of Elk's Run seemed a little slow-paced, but I now see that Fialkov was building a foundation and using the slow pace for tension. In this third issue, when events from the first two begin to snowball and more cracks appear in the "perfect town" of Elk's Run, it becomes clear that establishing the mood and foundation was important. With that understood, the artwork of Noel Tuazon and colorist Scott Keating clicks with me more as well, and though I still find some of the specific storytelling a little fuzzy, the dull browns and yellows of the palettes and the somewhat oppressive mood in the art throughout begins to make more sense. Tuazon and Keating are showing the reader the illusion of the dull community, and it makes for an effective contrast with the sinister events that unfold in this issue.
The shifting point of view also becomes clearer now that we're three issues in, and this issue's look at how the "mother hen" of the community views the events going on is a fascinating look at maternal instinct as it applies in a community where isolation and the ever-present threat of violence are part of life. The most interesting moment, however, comes fairly late in the issue, as one of the community members makes a decision that puts the hidden community in a direct path with the society outside, and promises to speed the pace up considerably. Elk's Run has been all about mood up to this point, but with the mood now firmly established, the actual story has gotten underway in a big way with this issue, and in so doing, hooked me much more into the story. Those seeking a moody suspense piece should give the Elk's Run Collected Edition from Speakeasy a look when it hits.