Some Thoughts Before The Review: The slow pace of The Stand is starting to get to me as a monthly reader. I realize that the book is adapting a fairly large work and that Stephen King is an author that likes to take his time with telling a story, but I always go into a new issue of the comic adaptation accepting the fact that I may get less of the story than I’m ready for. The comic is damn fine-looking and extremely well-written, but the current pace is making me think about trade-waiting the next part of the story.
The Story: Larry Underwood and Rita Blakemoor make their way out of New York, encountering all sorts of grisly things along the way. The situation they find out turns out to be much worse than they had imagined…
What’s Good and What’s Not So Good: While limited in scope (as far as how many characters are in it) compared to earlier issues, American Nightmares #3 is one of the best chapters of The Stand yet. The story of Larry and Rita’s trip through (and out of) New York is thrilling, intense, brutal, and almost perfectly executed. If I have any complaint, it’s that the characters that the issue focuses on aren’t all that interesting or likable. Rita has some unique quirks and Larry’s attempt at personal redemption is well-written, but personally, I feel like I don’t have any real emotional investment in either character. It hurts the overall impact of the book, but only a small amount.
On a technical level, the latest issue of The Stand is quite brilliant. The occasional stomach-churning artwork by Mike Perkins and Laura Martin looks fantastic when on display, though the most effective scenes show almost nothing. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has to write his way through a number of panels that are completely black except for the dialogue and it works far better than you might expect. The scenes are surprisingly creepy as Larry deals with horrors that cannot be seen.
I could probably go on some more about what I like, but I really don’t want to ruin anything. So let me just say that my interest in the series has been renewed thanks to the impressive work by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Mike Perkins, and Laura Martin. I look forward to seeing more focused issues in the future.
Conclusion: American Nightmares #3 is probably my favorite issue of The Stand (so far). Be sure to check it out!