"Bone Parish #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Jonas Scharf
Colored by Alex Guimaraes
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 26th, 2018
The Winters bury one of their own as they prepare for war with the Cartel. This is all over a powerful new drug they've created from the ashes of the dead. It brings the corpse back to life in a vision only you can see, so it's one crazy trip. It's no wonder the Cartel is willing to go to such lengths to control it.
We've seen what Ash can do in Bone Parish so far and how dangerous it can be. This issue shows some of the more heartbreaking side effects. Grace, the matriarch of the Winters clan, has been using Ash to speak to her dead husband. She uses her last amount to watch their son's funeral together in a touching scene. This means more than his counsel with the coming war.
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Artist Jonas Scharf uses a great effect on the Ashed man to show that he's not really there. He's not entirely solid, so his body starts to float away a bit, like he's made of ash himself and the wind is starting to disrupt his corporeal form. Colorist Alex Guimaraes uses a bright purple shade for the parts of him that are falling apart, so it's like he's exploding in a bright flash or going out with a bang.
These two elements work very well together in underscoring the severity of the situation. Although it's a calm conversation between two people, it will carry dire consequences in what's to come. Grace's husband was her rock and she's losing it once and for all. It's bad enough that he's dead, but she got a second chance with the Ash. Now he's gone for good.
As her husband fades away at last, he thanks her for allowing him to see their son's funeral. Letterer Ed Dukeshire uses a translucent word balloon for this final statement and that feels like a knife to the heart. Just in case you had any doubts about the finality of this, that one panel seals the deal.
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You get the sense that something big is brewing in Bone Parish as all of the players begin to prepare. This funeral and what follows are like the calm before the storm. Every scene that plays out is going to have some long-reaching effects, like a rock thrown into a pond. New enemies appear. New alliances are formed. It's all going to get a lot bloodier.
Bone Parish has already established itself as a creepy supernatural comic. What sets it apart is how well developed the characters are and how invested we are in their lives. This is a low key chapter that's packed with a sense of foreboding. The Winters have already been through so much and their lives are not going to get any easier any time soon.