"Harrow County #14" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Tyler Crook
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 13th, 2016
Emmy continues to fight against her destiny as the reincarnation of the witch that once terrorized her hometown. While trying to save a local boy, she encounters a strange man and an invisible girl, the latter being all the more creepy by the fact that she leaves bloody footprints in her wake. This is just the beginning, as the man known as Levi explains that they're all related. It seems that there's more to the supernatural in this area than just Emmy.
You have to love Emmy's stark determination. She's still getting the hang of her abilities, but she has all the confidence in the world. A stranger in a corn field is nothing compared to some of the truly terrifying things she's witnessed in her short life. Artist Tyler Crook draws Emmy with this furrowed brow when she's angry. Her eyes get small and suspicious. You can tell from her body language that you do not want to argue with her. I feel sorry for her future children.
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The opening of this issue of Harrow County features one of the most chilling single panels I've seen all year. We're introduced to Emmy's mother, who disappeared when she was just an infant. These pages show how and why she left. She is troubled by what she might do to the child and sees who Emmy “really” is. This comes at a page turn and it's not much of a spoiler, as you can see the shot in the preview images on this page. You go from a peaceful sleeping baby to a rotting corpse, blood and sinew falling off of it. It's such an unsettling shot.
Crook's colors really set the tone of Harrow County. Although there are vibrant shades that pop out in the hot sun of the earlier scenes, there's a darkness that creeps around everyone, like a cloud that just won't go away. There's a sense of foreboding that comes with it. Although Levi seems like he's a nice guy, there's definitely something shady about him. I wouldn't trust him and I hope Emmy doesn't either.
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The scope of Harrow County is greatly expanded with this issue, as we meet more folks that dabble in the dark arts. They are tied to Emmy's past in a big way. This is world building at its best. Writer Cullen Bunn certainly knows a thing or two about that. If you need an example, just take a look at the recently concluded Sixth Gun. We don't know much about this “extended family,” but each one is just as creepy and odd as the last. I can't wait to see them further explored in future issues.
Harrow County is the kind of horror that gets right into your bones. This was a rather tame issue compared to some of the others in the series to date, but it is no less scary. That aforementioned panel is something that will stay with me for a while, haunting me whenever I close my eyes. I get chills just thinking about it.