Published: Oct 2020
Having missed a whole year, the Scream! and Misty worlds collide once more with this, the third collection from this sometimes-annual anthology series (Misty now gets first billing). As with the previous outings, Scream! fans might be left wanting as there isn’t much here that ties back to the original 15 issue run but there are some highlights.
The Dracula File returns after its omission last time (which was a real disappointment given how well it was presented in issue #1 of the crossover) and Black Beth makes another appearance but that wasn’t really ever a Scream! story. Beyond that, even Ghastly McNasty’s input is reduced to just a shared introduction with Misty.
So yet again, Scream! fans may well be disappointed but fans of action, comedy and horror might be happier. Thankfully, The Dracula File and Black Max both deliver and so this issue is a great way to close off this latest chapter in the history of our favourite comic but we can’t help thinking that more could have been done to tie these issues in with the original comic.
Thief of Senses
Set in Victorian England in 1892, a family is terrorised by an entity that comes and night and steals senses from its victims. The set up is a little dreary and drawn out and the final page is a little bit confusing to be honest but this is a reasonably effective horror tale that might have worked well, in edited form, as a Library of Death tale.
A short and breezy story about three students who are designing props for a college production of Medusa the Musical. This one is very much from the Misty side of things with it’s slightly childish and cheesy set up but the ending is okay and the clear, colourful and bright art style sets it apart from the rest of the issue.
Bumps in the Night
Another fairly silly story, this one focuses on a school trip to a circus. However, when the meanest girl of the group disrespects Bumps the clown, she gets an unexpected home visit from him. It’s another throwaway tale but one that does a job and ends quite effectively. It has a Ghastly Tale kind of feel to it albeit with nicer, up to date artwork.
We’re still not massive fans of the Black Beth story (especially after it dominated the Scream! 1988 Holiday Special) and that’s still the case but this is a reasonably effective tale featuring the vengeful demoness. The art style is very rough though, almost like a storyboard sketch and it does detract a little from the storytelling.
Return of Black Max ‘Flying Solo’
Black Max has been an interesting series and one that really needs more frequent publication as each issue’s story doesn’t really have enough space. Despite this, Max’s third outing does actually wrap up the story thanks to some skillful writing from Kek-W. The art (Simon Coleby) is fantastic and really enhanced by the colouring (Len O’Grady). We were initially a bit sceptical about Black Max but its been the highlight of the Scream! and Misty run.
The Dracula File
This issue’s only true Scream! story closes out this anthology. The Dracula File returns but with different art style to the exceptionally tasty looking 2017 outing but features the original protagonist, Colonel Stakis the ex-KBG defector who has been tracking Dracula since issue #1 of Scream! Now an old man, Stakis is still tracking Dracula through London but ends up detained by the authorities after his latest hunt goes wrong.
As with Black Max, this tale also reaches a conclusion of sorts and so both tales end up being a great reason to pick up this issue.