"Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson
Colored by Carlos Badilla
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 10th, 2016
Dancy Flammarion was dead, stabbed through the chest with a pitchfork by her werewolf buddy Maisie. Now, through a dark ritual performed by a pair of insane women, she's returned to the land of the living, but all is not well in the South. There are dangers that may make Dancy re-evaluate this trip back to this mortal coil. She no longer has the fierce angel guiding her, nor does she have her trusty blade used to vanquish demons. That does not mean she's defenseless though.
There's a vein of evil that runs through every page of Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and the Bird. It's evident from the very first panel. This issue begins with the twins sitting in front of an altar made of bones, leaves, and wood that's propped up like the nest of a huge demonic bird. They're quickly attacked by a pack of werewolves, which artist Daniel Warren Johnson brought to life in southern-fried terror.
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These creatures don't look furry; instead they're more like sinewy bags of flesh, leaping towards their prey. The limbs are long and unnatural, too long for a human, but not quite the right shape for a wolf. Their teeth are not razor sharp, but that doesn't make them any less horrifying. It's their eyes that the scares come from. There's madness lurking behind them that's brought out brilliantly by Carlos Badilla's colors.
To get back to Dancy for a bit, she crawls completely naked out of a swamp and at first appears completely vulnerable. What's a poor girl to do out in the woods all by herself without a shred of clothing? That's the thing though. Dancy doesn't need anything to kick ass. She straight up kills a gator with a broken stick not five minutes after returning to life. After she slays the beast, she doesn't offer up a quip or a sigh of relief. Instead she looks at the bloody carcass and just says, “Fuck you.” It's such a perfect little cap to that scene and really sums up the character.
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Johnson's artwork strikes this great balance between all-out action (like with the werewolves), harsh terror, a touch of humor, a little tenderness, and a whole lot of creepy. There's a flashback sequence where Dancy remembers getting into a car with a few strangers, including one really weird lady in the back seat. As the scene continues, the woman starts getting more and more deformed, but you only see her from the shadows or from side angles. When we finally get a good look at her, she's like a vampiric corpse with long, scrawny limbs and cold, dead eyes.
Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, & The Bird mixes an epic story of good and evil with some top notch artwork. At the heart of it all is Dancy Flammairon, a strong woman that takes no shit from anyone, alive or dead. Despite being in a defenseless position, she never asks for help or complains. She just marches on, ready to do what's right.