Hoax Hunters Book One: Murder, Death and the Devil

Hoax Hunters Book One: Murder, Death and the Devil
Hoax Hunters Murder, Death and the Devil review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Image Comics - 978-1-60706-657-6
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2012
  • UPC: 9781607066576
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Hoax Hunters is a myth busting TV show that investigates strange footage circulating around the web. A team of four tour the globe checking out rumours and providing convincing explanations. They’re seemingly mismatched, but each has an ability kept secret from the public at large that proves useful in getting to the bottom of things. Ken, for instance, is a mind-reading zombie. Here they investigate the return of a long missing American astronaut, the wholesale murder of Louisiana’s Bigfoot community and a schoolgirl who’s either talented or cursed. Over the opening two chapters, though, as big a mystery as any investigated is how Hoax Hunters ran for three graphic novels. The very basic art of JM Ringuet on the first investigation fails to get to grips with the necessities of the script, while writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley explain little and show much. This isn’t necessarily a bad narrative device, being valid in prompting audience curiosity, except here it is because there are no rational answers to too many questions.

Ringuet is gone by the next episode and despite some shockingly proportioned figures to begin with Axel Medellin is preferable as he has a better idea of how to lay out a clear page and therefore to tell the story. He’s way better than that, however, and very quickly fixes his figurework and grows into an inventive artist with a good sense of design. It takes Moreci and Seeley a while longer to settle properly into what they want to do. They know enough to differentiate their series from X-Files, although it’s a surely an inspiration, and quickly trade being enigmatic for constructing a TV style action drama, but not one that ever really gets to grips with the cast. That changes around two-thirds of the way through when there’s a scene involving Jack’s father and another character in the past. It’s disturbing, and suggests the writers have something more to offer than recycling. Actually, to be fair to them, the constantly distracting visual of team member Murder has been round since the start.

Once past that revelation Moreci and Seeley introduce a couple more mysteries with potentially appalling consequences, and we begin to see how Hoax Hunters is a series with legs. It’s a little too late for Murder, Death and the Devil, but enough to whet the appetite for Secrets and Lies.

Before that, though, there’s one final chapter with Emilio Laiso on the art, delving back to the Hoax Hunters of 1984 investigating why everyone who grew up in Burlington County orphanage is turning up dead. It has some connection with the present, and is a nicely formulated, if more traditional, horror story and a good ending point.