"Harrow County #32" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated & Lettered by Tyler Crook
2018, 36 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on June 27th, 2018
This is it. Harrow County comes to a close the only way it can: with an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. On one side you have Emmy, who has come a little too close to the darkness but still fights on the side of the angels and for what’s right. On the other side is the mad witch Hester Beck, who vows to destroy Emmy and everyone around her. The two grapple high above the town, wrestling for dominance in a last ditch effort.
This fight is absolutely brutal, as neither side pulls any punches. You really understand what’s at stake here as Emmy gives it everything she’s got, but has to question if she’s strong enough and mean enough to take on Hester. This is a woman that personifies evil. She’s shown no remorse for the countless lives she’s taken or ruined, even turning on her own family. How do you fight something like that?
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Emmy finds a way and we’re with her through every step. You can’t help but get caught up with her strength and perseverance. I was cheering her on as she stood up to such an unstoppable force. When she let out a massive attack, I practically fell over from cheering.
These two could not be more different too. Hester is oily and filthy. Her dress is covered in blood and a noose hangs loosely around her neck. Her hair is greasy and disgusting. She has a near-permanent look of crazed laughter on her face. Contrast that with the earnest blonde young Emmy who looks tough yet innocent despite the skeletons in her closet.
Artist Tyler Crook has outdone himself with this finale. The fight scenes are epic enough on their own, but couple it with some gruesome horror and you’ve got a total package. Hester’s snakes had infected some of the townsfolk by sliding into their ears and taking up residence in their minds. With the battle rages on, some of the snakes are forced out. They’re just as unsettling coming out as they are going in.
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There are tons of great images on display in Harrow County #32. My personal favorite comes after Emmy unleashes a last ditch attack. We get a close-up of Hester’s face, specifically with one of her bloodshot eyes. For the briefest of moments, she feels fear and Crook captured it in glorious detail.
The issue wraps up with a look back at everything Emmy has been through in a series of beautiful double-page spreads. Crook showcases the adventures we’ve seen throughout the series to date, as well as all the monsters that have populated this quaint little area. It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to one of the best comics on the stands today.
I’m sad to see it end, but I could not have asked for a better final issue. Writer Cullen Bunn has led us to a fantastic ending that is so very fitting. It shows incredible character development, as Emmy has gone through one helluva journey. While there are certainly possibilities to return to Harrow County to feature more of the strange monsters and odd things that have happened there over the years, it’s unnecessary. We have a great story here that stands on its own with a beginning, middle, and an end that will delight any reader.