|HARROW COUNTY No. 3, July 2015|
Despite depicting fiery ghosts rising from beneath their long-forgotten grave markers, the haunting whispers of an adolescent boy’s skin confined within a satchel, and the gory body of an “angry, ferocious” haint, the most disturbing element of Cullen Bunn’s plot to Issue Three of “Harrow County” must undoubtedly be the savage murderous attempt to kill Emmy by the girl’s own Pa; “It’s good that you’ll be gone before you realize -- what you are! Stay back! Let me finish this!” Indeed the sequence where the tearful yet perturbingly determined farmer brutally throttles his daughter before the eyes of her friend Bernice must have chilled many of this comic’s 9,189 readers to their very bones.
But whilst the somewhat unthinkable attack upon his teenage child may well have unsettled many of this horrific tale’s audience, the American noir author’s narrative also uses this distressing situation as the catalyst for the protagonist’s realisation, and swift acceptance, that although she was “not some monster”, she “can be.” This sudden loss of all innocence in the lead character is “deftly written” by the Bram Stoker Award nominee, especially when it at first appears to convince the bloodied blonde that she must find “a way to get rid of” her father “and to make sure he stayed gone… forever.”
Equally as compelling as Bunn’s narrative though, has to be the “beautifully drawn” illustration work of Tyler Crook. The former “sports video games” artist does a terrific job in captivating the eye with his brightly coloured blazing ghosts wordlessly mouthing words of warning to the startled trespassers. But it’s his incredibly emotive facial expressions found upon the figures of the living which really help tell this story of paternal betrayal and treachery. In fact the utterly astounded look in young Emmy’s eyes as her Pa mercilessly strangles her whilst all the while telling her he’s sorry, followed by the young woman’s almost malevolent look as she subsequently considers the battered and bruised farmer’s fate, is actually far more hauntingly impactive than the comic’s cliff-hanger when a sobbing naïve witch inadvertently disturbs the slumber of a four-eyed demonic creature that “would just as soon kill the girl as lay eyes upon her.”
|Script: Cullen Bunn, Art and Lettering: Tyler Crook, and Pinup Art: Shane White|