Kingstone Comics adapts The Remaining as a graphic novel and provides some good old fashioned horror-comic thrills along with a timely message
Pencils: Kyle Hotz
Inks: Eric Layton, Jason Moore, John Beatty, Joseph Rubinstein
Adapted by Roland Mann from the screenplay by Casey La Scala and Chris Dowling
132 pages, soft cover
'Seems like this is the season for end-times entertainment (an oxymoron of a phrase if ever there was one, but there ya' go...). No less than two major films dealing with the subject are hitting the big screen this season (the Nicolas Cage reboot of Left Behind follows the theatrical release of The Remaining by about a month) and Kingstone Comics has just released their graphic novel version of the more horrific of the pair.
The Remaining is, by any standard, a nightmarish affair – and with good reason. The events set out in the book of Revelation certainly describe a scenario frightening enough to scare the hell out of anyone. Of course, by that time it will be too late – which is the crux of this tale.
The story starts in flashback – Cloverfield style - on the wedding day of a young couple, Dan and Skylar. Tommy, a friend, is shooting video and allowing us to catch glimpses of the main characters and their relationship issues. Skylar's parents are Christians and she's obviously been exposed to the gospel, although she's never made a real commitment. Throughout the story there are characters like Skylar and that seem to understand what's happening and probably 'get it' when Skylar says, "If I am right, this is gonna' get really bad." And it does.
The group of survivors that we're following takes refuge in a church basement, where the pastor – a man that never really believed the truth himself – is also one of the remaining humans and is haunted by the knowledge that he was simply playing a role and never really came to a saving faith himself. The horror seems to climax with the release of the demonic creatures mentioned in Revelation chapter nine appear, and various characters succumb to their deadly attack. The story ends abruptly and violently with a simple challenge to the reader that I won't divulge here.
Once again Kingstone Comics adapts a story from another medium, but this time the results are more successful than The Lamb and The Fuehrer, their recent book adaptation,. Film is a close cousin to graphic storytelling and Hotz and Mann take full advantage of points-of-view, atmosphere, and dialog, 'directing' their characters through this adventure. The dialog is crisp and appropriately contemporary, the panel layout moves the reader's eye across the page nicely and the coloring creates a moody, appropriately creepy ambiance suggesting an underground stake-out as the trapped friends try to figure out what horror will appear next and how – or if – they'll be able to escape.
Not having seen the film version of The Remaining, I can't say how faithful this graphic novelization is – but that's not the point. The questions that matter are: is this a well-done creative effort? Does it work as a graphic novel? The answer on both counts is yes. Those who approach the book with the expectation of a classical story arc with a start, a crisis, and a resolution might be troubled by the lack of a neatly tied-up ending ...but maybe that's the point, exactly.
- Bert Saraco