The Deviant, Vol. 1

Image Comics. Oct. 2024. 152p. ISBN 9781534356917. pap. $16.99. HORROR
Just before Christmas in 1973, a group of young men in Milwaukee, WI, are tortured and brutally murdered by a man dressed like Santa Claus. In 2023, a writer named Michael conducts a series of interviews with “the Deviant Killer,” Randall Olsen. who has been convicted of committing those murders. Olsen maintains his innocence, insisting that he was convicted on circumstantial evidence, largely due to society equating queerness with abomination. The premise resonates with Michael, whose earliest recognition of his own queer identity as a young man is inextricably linked to hearing tales of Olsen’s supposed depravity. Rattled by how closely he identifies with Olsen, Michael begins looking into the details of the case at what turns out to be the worst possible time, as a killer clad in a Santa costume is once again targeting young men around Milwaukee.
VERDICT Bestselling author Tynion (Blue Book) and illustrator Hixson (The Plot) deliver a moodily illustrated and psychologically complex horror thriller that examines the consequences of refusing to acknowledge the humanity of an individual who does not conform to the societal expectations of the prevailing culture.
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