In Review: Harrow County #6

A superior saga of the supernatural that will leave you wanting more as you hide beneath your sheets.

The cover: Hands digging in the dirt have found their treasure: a body. It’s decayed considerably in the soil, but what was probably not expected was that the corpse’s eyes are glowing a florescent yellow. The head of the deceased is creepy enough, but including a variety of insects on the digger’s hands make this a shudder-inducing image. Beautifully grotesque work by Tyler Crook that teases something deadly to be found within. Overall grade: A+ 

The story: Harrow County is getting drenched. It might be due to the arrival of lost twin sister Kammi, who’s arrived from the city, driven by her chauffer. The first pages are narrated by Berenice, who was with Emmy before her sister drove up. While Pa is downstairs trying to get the driver to sit down and have some coffee, the three girls are upstairs in Emmy’s room. Berenice asks a question of Kammi and her reply is harsh: “And hasn’t anyone taught you that it’s rude to interrupt?” Emmy comes to her friend’s defense, saying that she’s been helping her with all the things that she’s been through lately; a duffle bag in the room issues an unheard exhale to accentuate this. Kammi wonders why she was taken from Harrow County, since this is where she’s was obviously born. “All the things that have happened to you…they’ve happened to me, too…And I only wish I had my sister to help me through it. I was afraid to come here…afraid to meet you…because you know who you really are…” With this said, Emmy quickly says, “You’re not lost anyone. I’m here with you…and I’ll tell you everything you need to know.” Cullen Bunn has upped the creepy factor with his script by creating this family reunion. Something seems suspicious about Kammi in what she says, but when the sun comes up she wants to do something that should have Emmy’s Spider-Sense tingling! On Page 11 “sister” has a suggestion about doing something at a very bad place and proceeds to do so. Kammi’s actions shock Emmy, who gets her to stop. On 13 someone appears before Kammi and her reaction shocks Emmy again. Add to that the line in the second panel on 14, and Kammi is really giving off a frightening aura. Kammi soon leaves and goes into town, where someone gets their wish granted. The final two pages are a horrific ending and a creepy beginning. Things are about to get very bad for Emmy. Overall grade: A+

The art: The illustrations, colors, and letters are done by Tyler Crook, who continues to show himself a master of the slow burn, the lurking terror, and the shocking reveal. The first two pages again incorporate this series’ name into the double-page splash (Wonderful!), this time in the mud outside of Pa and Emmy’s as the rain drops in a torrent. Pages three and four have sensational set pieces of lightning striking close by, rendering all white and making shadows fall eerily, such as in panel five on Pages 3 and 4. The interior of the house has a wonderful aged stain work on the walls that instantly places this story in the early half of the twentieth century. This fantastic coloring continues to the second floor in Emmy’s room. The art is also great, as the looks that Kammi shoots at Berenice and at her sleeping sister speak volumes beyond the text. Even Berenice is saying much with her face after Kammi is mean to her. The five page exterior sequence that begins on 9 is fantastic. It’s pre-dawn, so the coloring is dreary, but what Kammi does is almost maniacal, and the colors that drench her hands after she’s stopped make the scene disturbing: when Kammi hugs Emmy I shuddered. The last page of the book is horrific. The art and the colors make the reveal absolutely awful, and the character that is shown in the final panel separating the characters is evil embodied. Scary hasn’t looked this monstrous in some time. Overall grade: A+

Pinup: Artist Jok does the pinup in this issue. It’s a very stylized Emmy running away from Hester Beck’s tree, which has opened its maw and holds a trio of flaming corpses in its branches. Standing in the puddle of orange goo that’s issuing from the tree’s mouth is the haint wearing his little boy skin suit. The coloring is too dark on the tree to make out any details in any part of it, and the use of orange and yellow overpowers Emmy in the foreground. The illustration is good, but the coloring is hurting its appeal. I’d rather see this in black and white. Overall grade: B-

The “Tales of Harrow County” story: Tyler Crook has illustrated and written “The Hunter” for this issue’s two page tale, while Ma’at Crook has colored it. With the exception of one sound effect, this is a silent story, set in more recent times than the main story of this issue, of man on a lake hunting. All seems fine until something appears that the hunter was not expecting. A visual creeper that has a terrific ending, the coloring is absolutely key to what occurs in the third and fifth panel on the second page. Excellent. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I refuse to lower a book’s perfect score because of coloring on pinup, so I’m keeping this book’s grade high. The story and art are fantastic and has me anxious to see what happens next. A superior saga of the supernatural that will leave you wanting more as you hide beneath your sheets. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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