There’s a chance that some of you might be familiar with Elk’s Run, as this isn’t the first time it has been published. Originally it was self-published as an eight-part series by its author, then snapped up by a comics publisher that later went into liquidation. Unfortunately, the story remained uncompleted on both these occasions. Random House’s Villard imprint has come to the rescue though, publishing the entire eight episodes, including the previously unreleased ending, in one handy volume.
The town of Elk’s Ridge was supposed to be a utopia, a place where no-one broke the law and everyone was happy. And to a certain extent it was. But no-one was allowed to leave either, and the gently quaint exterior hides a town ruled with an iron fist of oppression. Strangers aren’t tolerated, the area is sealed with an electric fence and the locals are a little too gun happy for their own good.
Perhaps this is all very well for the original inhabitants of the town, but their children hold different ideals. They want influences from the outside world. Unfortunately for them, this cannot be allowed.
Elk’s Run is a hard edged thriller with a central theme running throughout that, as Charlie Huston says in his introduction, asks how far you would go to protect what you believe is right. Even if you’re very, very wrong. Unfortunately for the characters in this book, some people will go very far to protect what is right and show little qualms about destroying other people’s lives in the process.
While the scripting is tight and the story-telling has the genuine moments of suspense that a thriller ought to have, the art is a little rough around the edges. This is clearly a style choice that’s been made and it manages to capture the emotions of the story reasonably well – it just isn’t really our preferred style and we felt it detracted from the overall quality of the piece.
However, there aren’t really enough quality thrillers in the comics medium and Elk’s Run should certainly be commended for offering something different.