An Unkindness of Ravens #1 Review: One of 2020's Best Debuts

An Unkindness of Ravens #1
An Unkindness of Ravens #1 puts a centuries-old conflict in a New England high school in one of 2020's best comic debuts.

An Unkindness of Ravens, the new series from writer/artist Dan Panosian, artist Marianna Ignazzi, colorist Fabiana Mascolo, and letterer Mike Fiorentino is a high school supernatural-drama, Salem Witch trials revenge story, and murder mystery. A lot of horror's greatest stories take place, like this one, in New England… so does An Unkindness of Ravens hold up?

An Unkindness of Ravens #1 cover. Credit: BOOM! Studios
An Unkindness of Ravens #1 cover. Credit: BOOM! Studios

An Unkindness of Ravens will draw comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but with the class warfare ruling the high school student body, it feels more like a supernatural Veronica Mars by way of Stephen King. It begins with a selection from "The Abagail House," illustrated by Panosian in a beautifully creepy, story-book-from-hell style that tells a tale of the Witch Trials, setting the tone for the story's overall direction. Then, we meet Wilma on her first day as the new kid at Dansforth High School, where a girl who looks just like her has recently gone missing. As what may be a murder mystery plays out in the background of this issue, Wilma finds herself caught between two groups: a clique led by Scarlett Dansforth, the school's queen bee who rules with an icy glare, and the threat of the football team's wrath, and the Ravens, a group of alt-girls who described as "Hell's Angels with straight As." Both the lead-up and the ending draw parallels to the Witch Trials, hinting at how this story of high school drama could ramp up into something centuries in the making.

The artwork in the main section of the story by Ignazzi and Mascolo evokes both the clean, simple lines of Charles Burns' Black Hole along with the modern, fashion-forward style we've seen in the recent Archie and Betty & Veronica comics. It feels both vintage and of the now, creating a perfectly expressive style that, first and foremost, invests people in the cast with unique designs for these expressive characters.

An Unkindness of Ravens is off to an incredible start and is, by my estimation, one of the best debuts of 2020.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.