Review – Hotell Volume 2 #1 (AWA Studios)

Publisher: AWA Studios – Upshot
Writer: John Lees
Artist: Dalibor Talajić
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Release Date: 1st December 2021

Welcome back to the Pierrot Courts Hotel, we’ve missed you!

After what seems like an eternity, I am delighted to have the opportunity to delve into the first issue of the next chapter in John Lees, Dalibor Talajić, and Lee Loughridge’s masterpiece of horror.

In the unlikely event that you haven’t read the preceding issues (and if not, where have you been?), Hotell is an anthology horror series centered around the mysterious Pierrot Courts Hotel; a sanctuary on Route 66 that only appears for those in desperate need. If you intend to stay the night however, you had better make sure that you’ve left whatever personal demons and closeted skeletons that you possess back on the hard shoulder, because the hotel has a way of using them against you and bringing your most fevered nightmares to life. Some are strong enough to survive a night at the Pierrot Courts, and some… are not.

If you’re new to this series, don’t worry. I wouldn’t say that you need prior knowledge of the series to jump on at this point, although hopefully it will encourage you to go back and grab the first volume.  For those who have been keeping up, volume two opens in much the same way as the first. There is something welcoming and familiar about our latest meeting with our host Jack Lynch, although this time we’re forearmed with the knowledge of what may lay in store for the latest batch of guests.

Jack Lynch has had some of the veneer scraped off him. He’s still very much the convivial host, but you can see the slight fraying of the edges caused by the events of the last arc of the story, and it’s far more evident that he is every bit as much a prisoner of Pierrot as those who find themselves under its roof.

Our first guests are a family looking for a fresh start, with their whole world crammed into the back of a station wagon. With a now familiar horror, we watch as their family bond quickly begins to come apart at the seams, with old arguments and resentments being driven on a wave of fear and paranoia, leading to the inevitable tragedy that is included with every stay, free of charge and with the compliments of the management…

I make no secret of my love for John Lees’ work. I can regularly be heard shouting from the rooftops about every new project he unveils, and Hotell is one of those that I spent a huge amount of time yelling at random strangers about first time around. Hotell has managed to cram a wide variety of horror genres into the stories we’ve had so far, and this issue is more of a slow burn than those we’ve previously seen, with an almost folk horror feel to it. In the first volume all the stories were tied together with a central thread, and I can’t wait to see how that develops over the coming issues, and whether this will tie into the first arc at all.

I loved Dalibor Talajić’s artwork in the first volume, and I love it in this second volume. If anything, I think that the artwork in this first issue is better, it seems more confident and detailed and Tajalić seems to be having a lot more fun bringing the world of the Pierrot Court Hotel to life. The slower burn of this story means that Talajić has to do a lot more with the quiet moments, and still help drive the tension. Which, as always, he does brilliantly.

It is great to be returning to the Pierrot Courts Hotel. I am so glad that AWA picked this up for a second run, and I cannot wait to see where the creative team take us this time.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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