What is Miskatonic High Issue 21 About?
Miskatonic High issue #21 is what happens when you mix a highly inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft comic book with Archie Comics’ Riverdale and The Reanimator – which it, in itself, is also inspired by Lovecraft. Let’s face it – you can’t read Miskatonic High without getting swept up in the cosmic horror magicks of Lovecraft. It oozes out of every panel! But thankfully, the Lovecraft racism does not.
Written by Mike Shea and art by Ryan Mendoza, Miskatonic High is probably the longest running crowdfunding comic book ever conceived – and with this issue, issue #21, which is a great jumping on point (even if it does end a story arc) you can certainly see why.
If you’re jumping on Miskatonic High with this issue then have you no fear as a very convoluted recap gets you up to speed and makes you quickly realise that this is one big high school horror soap opera. To cut through the noise, here we go:
Miskatonic High is much like Riverdale High if Riverdale High was Hogwarts and if Hogwarts was only obsessed with the workings of Lovecraft’s fictional universe. Focusing on the core characters who are all friends, we have Trish, Alex, Anton, Matt, Ren, Sarah and Simon.
Trish and Alex are half brother and half sister. Trish’s dad went to jail for the murder of her mother. A crime he didn’t commit. So ever since then, she’s been looking for a way to reanimate her mom – by any means necessary.
Anton, who is a ghost, helped discover a Dr Herbert West, who is perfecting a way to bring the dead back to life. With Trish secretly thinking if the procedure works on Anton then maybe she can use it on her mom.
Matt, who is on the school hockey team and is a Druid, is putting on a party at his grandfathers house because the hockey team made the regional playoffs. But really it’s a ruse so Matt can break into a secretive locked room.
Sarah, who is a half rat daughter and whose family’s genes are degrading, has the hots for Matt and will do anything to be invited to this party. But then, Matt is going out with Ren who is a seer of Ghosts. And then there’s Simon who is the Student Body President, Nerd and Wizard trainee.
That should catch you up. See what I mean by soap opera?
Miskatonic High issue #21 kicks off with Alex and Sarah making plans to meetup at Matt’s party. While this is going on, Trish and Anton are at Dr Herbert’s who is about to try his experiment to bring Anton back to life in a living body so that he’s no longer a ghost. The experiment is a success, however, Dr Herbert is murdered before they can all celebrate. It seems there’s a Dr Herbert clone on the loose!
A brief scene between Simon and Ren at Simon’s house shows us that she’s more than interested in Simon and will do what she can to seduce him.
Back at Dr Herbert’s, Trish comes out of the trance she entered to assist with the reanimation experiment only to see a very much alive Anton covered in blood and a dead Dr Herbert. After explaining the clone situation, Trish injects Anton with a syringe which knocks him out and she takes off with Dr Herbert’s equipment and notes necessary to try to reanimate her mom.
Back at Matt’s, the party is well underway and Sarah will do anything to try and impress Matt. Even if it means getting tipsy off one beer. Simon and Ren arrive at the party which interrupts any hope that Sarah had to try and impress Matt but then that too is quickly interrupted with an alive Anton busting onto the scene. He explains what’s happened, the murderous clone and Trish’s plan to bring her mom back to life. Knowing this could potentially end up in a zombie situation, Simon, Ren and Anton head to the graveyard to find Trish but they’re still one step behind her.
Having spilled beer on her dress and still at the party, Matt gives Sarah some clothes to change into. But high school jerk, Chris, busts in on Sarah getting changed, revealing her rat tail. He takes it to another level by being “handsy” with her which causes Chris and Matt to start fighting. Chris continues the bullying and Sarah pulls a knife out on him, taking some of his cheek as she does so before running out of the house in just her bra, pantries and rat tail.
After a convoluted explanation of why Trish would be trying to resurrect her mom at Simon’s house; Simon, Ren and Anton arrive to find Simon’s mom on the floor tied up and Trish halfway into the experiment. While they’re trying to talk Trish out of it, this leaves for a creepy boogeyman moment of Dr Herbert’s clone to emerge from the shadows and attack Anton as Trish’s mom’s reanimated cadaver confronts her. But there’s something wrong and in an almost Pet Sematery moment, Trish’s mom causes Trish to become impaled on a broken glass window. Allowing for Trish’s mom and Dr Herbert’s clone to escape into the night as Trish dies in the arms of her friends.
While Matt’s mom arrives back at the mansion only to utter some harrowing words that means she’s either really pissed about the party or that she’s going to actually kill her son. Either way, we’ll have to wait til next issue.
This universe of Mike Shea and Ryan Mendoza’s gives off a fun horror vibe that gels quite well with the teenage soap opera dynamic. While Shea’s script feels rushed in certain areas of the issue, it’s not surprising when there’s so much ground to cover in this final comic book cliff hanger. It probably could’ve been split across two issues with a bit more fleshing out and allowing higher tension to take hold but I understand why they chose to go the way they did.
Ryan Mendoza’s art is both thoughtful, cartoon-ish, and highly emotive thanks to the expressions on each characters face which suit every back-and-forth action that all the characters engage in. Even the douchebag ones. I’m looking at you, Chris. The coloring palette balances well across every page and allows for when danger, shock or suspense strikes – to make a supercharged impact!
The Talent Involved and Sale Dates
MISKATONIC HIGH #21
Written by MIKE SHEA
Art by RYAN MENDOZA
Miskatonic High #21 was a successful Kickstarter Campaign.
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