Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Colour Assists: Gianluca Papi
Letterer: Fabio Amelia
Release Date: 27th May 2020
As Goodwill and Lady Hellaine prepare to entertain Woodsburgh’s elite, her influence is felt on a wider scale as her blossoms are discovered in the streets, and she feels the adoration of some and the suspicion of others. The vicious and cowardly actions of Rory’s “uncle” inspire unexpected feelings in Hellaine, and Rory sees something in the eldritch woman that cannot possibly exist.
First and foremost, Mirka Andolfo’s artwork is the star of the show once again, with some truly beautiful imagery used to display the more outré aspects of Hellaine’s condition. There is a very gentle, vulnerable, almost naïve tone to the majority of Andolfo’s characters in this series so far, but make no mistake, she delivers a masterful understanding of the horrific and eldritch with some truly chilling scenes.
As for the story, well so far I’m intrigued by the premise and it mixes a lot of horror genres together which is always a tricky task to do well, but I think Andolfo pulls it off well. There is a mixture of Gothic horror, folk horror and, if not strictly Lovecraftian, there are certainly aspects that certainly fall into the eldritch and cosmic horror category and could best be described as being reminiscent of Machen or Derleth.
As Ceej rightly pointed out in his review of issue 1, while individually the threads and themes of the story aren’t particularly original or groundbreaking, they are woven together in a way that makes the whole quite a gripping read, and the characters that Andolfo has written are definitely interesting and richly realised on the page.
There are some threads that are vexing me though. The initial blurb for this series discusses a series of vicious and brutal murders that precede the arrival of Hellaine and Goodwill, but other than there being a curfew in place the Woodsbrough Devil seems to be more a campfire legend to frighten children than a genuine threat to the townsfolk. I’m assuming that this foreshadowing will lead to a greater conflict in later issues but for now it’s frustratingly out of reach.
There is a lot happening in this series; we’ve been introduced to a plethora of characters and there are more than enough twists and turns to keep things moving but I’m worried that with only six issues in total, there’s a risk that Andolfo’s more than evident skill is going to be hard pushed to pull all the threads together satisfyingly in the remaining four.
That said, I have no doubt that Andolfo will continue to deliver the goods and I really hope she finds a way to bring everything she’s started together because it’s going to make for a fantastic story if she does.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek