Books · Comics · Horror · Not-Recommended · Reviews

The Vault: Lacklustre Creature Feature

“All our stories and legends and religions have roots in some form of reality. As scientists, we are trained to believe that it was man’s primitive way of explaining nature…We have seen something that is behind all stories…We may argue over whose god is the real God but no one will argue when they meet an…”

This graphic novel story written by Sam Sarkar and illustrated by Garrie Gastonny, had so much potential to be something extraordinary in the genres of adventure-horror. Yet it fell so painfully short that I could feel myself cringing at its finale.

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The Vault takes us to Sable Island, which is known as the Graveyard of the North Atlantic. We have a motley crew of five to six people who have gathered to dive into the darkest depths of the ocean on a hunt to discover treasure that’s seemingly undiscoverable due to its dangerous location. They end up discovering something that isn’t treasure, but something that will change the face of history as the world knows it.

That premise right there, sounds damn appealing to me. I’m a sucker for adventure stories. Toss in some supernatural or horror-type of monsters and I’m practically drooling on the floor. However, instead of taking the reader on a journey that properly flushes out the meat of this barebones outline, we are essentially jammed onto a fast—track shuttle that races through all the major plot points in a glimpsing manner until we arrive at destination The End.

The Vault is extremely rushed. After the cast is introduced to us, we are flung into the ocean to get the treasure hunt on the road. As I settled in for a grand old ride, all the panels just began to unfold so brashly that I didn’t even get a chance to absorb or process what the hell was going on. While there is a bit of an eerie atmosphere that can make you uncomfortable with anticipation, these elements never had a chance to properly build-up with any sort of suspense.  The tension was teased and immediately yanked aside.

I had never felt so deprived with a graphic novel before.

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One of its redeeming qualities is the art. I will flat out state that the artwork is gorgeous. The drawings and colours of the ocean and the ship did a phenomenal job at conscripting the feelings of unease that come with claustrophobia. You’re out in the sea all alone, so you can feel the strange openness that comes with the environment, yet you are this tiny person in a giant mass, swimming into a tunnel of rocks that gets tinier and tinier. That small, tingly sensation of fear and distress was exceptionally compelling.

The design of the monster was something that basically fell out of classic horror mediums. Avoiding spoilers, I will say that the creepy mummy-like fossil found took on the appeal that’s found in your classic Creature-Feature type of setting.  If the art style was coupled with a far more flushed out and better paced narrative, the comic would have a killer read with a high recommendation. As it stands now, it’s a leave-it type of book.

2 1/2 golden coins out of 5.

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