Written by John Edward Betancourt
Sometimes, we meet people in life who firmly believe that they are cursed. That no matter what they do or where they go, something dark and sinister is waiting in the shadows to sabotage them when it comes to success and ensure that they are completely robbed of any kind of happiness; and because of this belief, these types of people often shy away from society, in the hopes of keeping their 'curse' from causing any further harm to themselves...or others.
But family and current or former friends of those kinds of people know that supernatural matters such as that simply aren't the reason for their problems in life. It is most certainly something else that has put them on this lonesome and melancholy path...but what if they were right? What if there was something evil and sinister ensuring their lives are miserable? Well it just so happens that such a concept was explored in the second issue of IDW's comic reboot of Tales from the Darkside.
'The Black Box - Part One' introduces us to Brian Newman, a man that suffers from seizures and just so happens to have a checkered past. Everywhere that Brian seems to go, trouble follows with him, in strange and creepy fashion since it always appears that the world is not what is seems when Brian is around. Once the water in a pool he was cleaning turned to blood, and recently a customer that Brian was helping at his current job claimed that her fur coat came to life and attacked her. It's cost him one job after another, since no employer thinks he is worth the off putting drama, along with friendships but there may be hope for Brian at last. A special institute, one familiar with the fertility treatments that Brian's mom underwent in order to conceive him thinks they may have a way to fix his seizures, and in turn...end the strange occurrences that follow him everywhere he goes...
We are two issues into this revitalization of this classic horror serial and IDW continues to impress with this series simply because, this particular issue looks and feels like a classic episode of the show. We get the featured monster in Big Winner lurking about behind the scenes for Brian, and popping up just enough on the page to disorient and creep out the reader and more importantly...this issue is setting up one hell of an epic story. Every single page of this particular issue is loaded to the brim with clues about Brian's past and the strange company that has taken an interest in him and it makes the 'to be continued' that pops up at the end to be a painful experience because hey...you want to know more.
But the most enjoyable part of this story, is the fact that it is filled with firsts for Tales from the Darkside. After all, two parters were never a thing on the television series, but more importantly this is the first time we have ever seen a main character in this series that turns out to be an actual Average Joe. Normally the people that populate these stories are well...bad people, who often get exactly what is coming to them. That's simply not the case with Brian. He is a man haunted by circumstances beyond his control and it's tragic to see that he has resigned himself to his fate. Of course, who knows, he may be revealed as a bad guy in the next issue, but in the here and the now, this is a different kind of story for the series, one that is actually more human than horror and IDW and Joe Hill deserve some credit for taking this horror classic to new heights with this fresh and inventive story. Until next time.