In Review: Harrow County #7

Frightening and beautiful, Harrow County is wonderfully horrific.

The cover: All I can think of is Julie Andrews in Hell when I look at this cover. Recently revealed evil twin Kammi stands in a field overlooking the plains of the county with a look of joy on her face as her hands and the front of her dress drip with gore. The blood from her dress is also discoloring the grass below her. This a great set of contrasts, with Kammi looking so lost in love and covered with the life fluids of some individual (individuals?) on her. Beautifully deranged imagery from Tyler Crook. Overall grade: A+

The story: Evil Kammi gets the lion’s share of time in this issue from writer Cullen Bunn. The book begins with her and her non-sleeping butler walking through the forest looking like they’re going to have a picnic. Coming upon a ramshackled, and familiar, cabin she approaches the house and says, “Hello? I know you’re in there. If you have a moment, I’d love to chat with you.” A familiar pair of vertical eyes appear and in a very pronounced voice the individual inside warns her to go away. Ignoring this character, Kammi has the picnic set up, inviting the individual to come out and eat with her. The blanket laid out, she sets out two glasses of wine and then pulls out the entrees, plates of rotting meat festering with maggots. With a smile that’s worth a million dollars, she reaches down to one of the morsels and takes a big bite, pulling the flesh from the bone, the juices from the flesh spilling down her chin grotesquely. Yet her smile remains as golden. This is enough to lure the inhabitant out. Kammi explains that she’s not Emmy, she’s her twin sister. The focus of their conversation is unheard, for the story then moves to Emmy on the farm with her pa. The previous story arc of this series focused on Emmy understanding who she is and what her abilities are. With Kammi’s arrival, her place in Harrow County comes into question, and this is due to the sister’s speaking with several previously seen, and several new, characters that lurk in the area. Each page brings a feeling of dread that something horrific is about to occur. When it doesn’t, readers can breathe a momentary sigh of relief, but the tension continues to build, making the reader constantly uneasy and anxious at what will occur. I love how frightening this book can be. There’s also a one page “Tales of Harrow County” by Tyler Crook. “Daughters” is the story of Miss Lee Anne who wanted to have children and how they came to be. This is a ghastly quicky that will leave a reader smiling, unless he or she starts to dwell on the horrific measures the protagonist has taken. Both tales are exceedingly entertaining. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: Once again, Tyler Crook has illustrated, colored, and lettered this issue. The first two pages are a spectacular example of the setting, with the light coming through the trees giving the title of this series. As Kammi and her butler calmly walk through the forest, a rabbit in the grass watches nervously. What a slick way to show the reader that even the fauna do not trust this woman. Kammi’s outfit is a sunny rose that stands out like a scar against the green foliage of the land. She has a matching blush on her cheeks, which give the reader an incorrect idea of her purity, but the appearance of her meal shows her inner, true nature. The fifth panel on Page 6 is one of the most disturbing images I’ve seen in this series, and that’s saying a lot! Her casualness with the inhabitant of the cabin telegraphs her strength before the beast, and the final panel on 7 is chilling. Contrast these pages with the two of Emmy and her Pa on the farm, and readers instantly know which character is trustworthy. Kammi goes on to encounter three more supernatural inhabitants of Harrow County and they look amazing. An entire issue could be focused on these characters, but their appearances are enough to show Kammi’s growing power. I really like the design of the three that she meets with last; only one aspect of their figures can be clearly seen, but their last appearance, from a distance, shows that they are so much more than what could be seen. In addition to the art, the lettering is also well done. I like that certain inhabitants have specific fonts assigned for their speech, separating them from the humans of the book and giving them an additional eerie image. The one page “Tales of Harrow County” is illustrated by Cat Farris. The art is delightfully unlike anything seen in this title before and is a complete match for the story. It was impossible for me not to smile at the end of this twisted tale because Farris’ art captures the warmth of the character. I’d be more than welcome to having her return to this book. Overall grade: A+

The pinup art: There is a one page pinup following the “Tales of Harrow County” story by Bryan Fyffe. It’s a character-free scene of the farm at night under a full moon. The infamous dead tree is in the foreground, its interior dimly lit. This image is just too dark to make out any details. It is incredibly difficult to make out the tree and the house against the sky which is just as dark. This needed much lighter coloring. I can’t lower the book’s grade because of one pinup. Overall grade: D+

The final line: Frightening and beautiful, Harrow County is wonderfully horrific. Highest possible recommendation of the week! 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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