Hinterkind #1 (Vertigo) Review

Hinterkind, the latest title from the Vertigo renaissance, is an imaginative piece of urban fantasy that shouldn't be missed!

For decades, Vertigo has been the place for unexpected, trend defying projects, the place where the hard to categorize becomes reality. In the insecure, fluctuating marketplace of the past few years, it’s been hard for Vertigo to be as experimental as it once was. With Hinterkind, Vertigo has returned to its roots, presenting a gripping, unexpected story of new world myths with old world sensibilities.

Hinterkind is the story of a world that has moved on. It is a modern dystopian tale combined with a classic sense of mythology. The story focuses on a Manhattan that has suffered an extinction level catastrophe; as a small group of human survivors eke out a life in a metropolis that has been transformed into a jungle ecosystem. This urban forest is lush with wild animals which protagonists Prosper Monday and Angus want to hunt to prove themselves worthy to the small tribe of survivors they are part of. 

The story moves at a daring pace, as soon as the readers gets used to the world unfolding before their eyes, the story changes direction. For example, after Angus is established, the story reveals he has recently grown a mouse tail, shoving the readers away from the dystopian setting into a realm of urban fantasy. Not wanting to be considered an outcast, Angus leaves the city with Prosper, transforming the story into a quest. Soon, the group is set upon by a strange race of giants and things get really cool.

The setting is really the meat of the story and the biggest draw to the title. It’s a familiar New York, with all the landmarks and familiar locations, but a New York with a mythic primeval forest grown over it. The setting breathes with life and menace as readers explore its confines with Angus and Prosper.

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The issue’s conclusion introduces the character of Star, a black winged angelic being who lords over the mythological creatures. She seems to be a hunter of humans working for whatever forces rule the creatures of Manhattan. All potential readers really need to know about her is that when she is questioned by her subservient brethren; she uses a modern day pistol to blow a unicorn’s head off. Ladies and gentlemen…Hinterkind!

The narrative is interspersed with entries from a book called “The First Book of Monday.” Whether this book is written in the future by Prosper or in the past by one of her relatives is not known, but virtually every page is a piece of the puzzle. What happened to the world? Why do mythic creatures exist? What is humanities place in this new world? The pencils of Franceso Trifogli bring the frightening world of Hinterkind to life. In his world, breathtaking beauty exists side by side with heart stopping horrors. It’s an exciting package and feels worthy of the name Vertigo.

Hinterkind feels similar to Image’s Saga in many ways, but comfortably plays with urban fantasy tropes the same way that Saga bends and breaks sci-fi expectations. It’s pure experimentation and proudly Vertigo.

Hinterkind #1“Once Upon a Time …” Chapter 1Writer: Ian EdgintonArtist: Francesco Trifogli

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4 out of 5