Comics, Reviews

W0rldtr33 #1 Review: Fear of What Lurks in the Dark Web

What if the scariest place on Earth is not a haunted house or a graveyard but the Internet itself? James Tynion IV continues to redefine horror with his latest release from Image Comics.

W0rldtr33 #1 by James Tynion IV and Fernando Blanco
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:07 AM

W0rldtr33 #1

W0rldtr33 #1 Cover

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Fernando Blanco

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: April 25, 2023

Page Count: 32

Format: Comic

James Tynion IV continues his run as one of the best horror writers in comics today with his new story about a twisted website that influences its users to commit heinous acts of violence.

Over the last few years, James Tynion IV emerged as one of the best horror comic creators in the industry. The writer is the creative mind behind such breakout hits like “Something is Killing the Children” from BOOM! Studios and “The Nice House on the Lake” from DC’s Black Label imprint. In collaboration with “Catwoman” artist Fernando Blanco, “W0rldtr33” is the writer’s latest twisted creation for Image Comics.

Known for his unique twists to horror, Tynion explores what’s best described as “techno horror.” It asks the simple question: What dark horrors are lurking in the furthest corners of the Internet? The writer wastes no time, wearing his inspirations on his sleeve, by greeting readers with a foreboding quote from Harlan Ellison’s infamous post-apocalyptic story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.”

Join me as I crack the code behind what makes “W0rldtr33” one of Image Comics’ most compelling releases of the year.

W0rldtr33 #1 by James Tynion IV and Fernando BlancoImage: Image Comics

Unraveling the Story’s Dark Web

The story opens with a mysterious, tattoo-covered woman accessing a website called the “Undernet.” The website appears to be a platform where people can share videos of themselves committing violent acts of murder. One such video shows a young man knocking on peoples’ doors and mercilessly slitting their throats in broad daylight. But before taking a person’s life, he flashes them a glimpse of the Undernet webpage. For a brief moment, before the killer makes his move, we see their minds break from what they see on the website. Meanwhile, the woman watching, known only as Ph34r, has the biggest smile on her face.

Throughout the issue, we get hints about the darkness behind the Undenet. The story introduces characters who talk about containing the dangerous website back in the 90s. But what the Internet was back then is nothing compared to the global resource it is today. With the Undernet unearthed from its cage in the darkest corner of the internet, it spreads its corruption at a terrifying rate to anyone who sees its true face.

W0rldtr33 #1 by James Tynion IV and Fernando BlancoImage: Image Comics

Unique Worldbuilding

Central to W0rldtr33’s unique premise is that it plays into the fear people have about the things lurking around the Internet. If you grew up in the 90s, then you must remember experiencing the Internet in its infancy. Before people shared content on Facebook, Reddit, or YouTube, there were message boards like 4chan. Message boards back then were like Wild West because you never knew what you’d find exploring these pages. 4chan is especially notorious for being a breeding ground for some of the darkest things you can find on the internet, and it’s still active today. For people who frequented such boards, it was common for them to become desensitized to disturbing content. Those people are the “lucky” ones because discovering just how dark and perverted the Internet is can be traumatizing experience if you’re someone who’s not ready for it.

W0rldtr33 #1 by James Tynion IV and Fernando BlancoImage: Image Comics

Captivating Art

For a comic book that delves into the horrors of computers and the internet, artist Fernando Blanco is excellent at capturing a wide range of human emotions. Much of the comic is composed of tight shots of characters’ faces. Whether you see characters horrified, enraged, or even emotionally broken, Blanco showcases an ability to drive up a scene’s emotional tension through well-crafted details in his artwork. Coupled with the phenomenal coloring work of Jordie Bellaire, the comic delivers plenty of moments that will shock you.

The most striking thing about the art is Blanco’s use of distortion effects throughout certain moments in the issue. The effect simulates how a screen or monitor breaks, making characters and environments look mangled and unnatural. The effect even occurs on the borders of panels, as if reality within the comic book itself is glitching out of control. These moments have an eeriness to them that fits perfectly with the aesthetic of and world that’s being built throughout the comic.

W0rldtr33 #1 by James Tynion IV and Fernando BlancoImage: Image Comics

Final thoughts

For a first issue of a new series, W0rldtr33 #1 does more than enough to pull you into its twisted narrative. While there’s still little background on all the different characters of the story, the mystery behind the Undernet and its influence offers a good hook that will leave you wanting to learn more. The concept of a haunted website that corrupts its visitors is unique and offers plenty of opportunities for the story to go in wildly dark directions.

TAGGED: Image Comics