"The House #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Sucker Productions
Written by Phillip Sevy
Illustrated by Drew Zucker
Colored by Jen Hickman
2017, 23 Pages
Comic released on June 21st, 2017
The grim reality is setting in for this group of World War II soldiers. They thought they'd found refuge from the horrors of war and the harsh winter storm in an abandoned house. Now the building is trying to kill them with changing floor plans to keep them inside and lost. Then there are the ghosts, twisted spirits that seem to exist solely to terrorize these men. The soldiers need a way out. That might come from a door, a window, or a bullet.
Whereas the first few issues of The House worked in layers of subtlety, building up an uneasy feeling over time, this one jumps straight into pure terror. These men are literally running for their lives. Unlike the battlefield they just came from, they can't stop their enemy with guns and violence. There's something darker at work here and they are not equipped to handle it.
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The ghosts are a force of chaos, leaping down the hallways to attack and antagonize the soldiers. Each bears a haunting rictus grin on their face, like they were victims of Joker gas. Drew Zucker's designs must come straight from nightmares. Their bodies are ragged and decayed, like a paranormal zombie. You get the feeling that they're very fast, as they leave a trail of color beaming from their eyes or torsos.
Jen Hickman's colors cast these spirits as demonic entities. They are the farthest thing from Casper. Their skin is yellowed and diseased. Their clothing looks filthy. It's creepy to see their eyes glowing in the darkness, staring right into your very soul.
I also want to highlight the incredible cover for this issue. It works on so many levels and drives home the sheer terror that this book delivers. It features one of the soldiers holding a gun under his chin with a desperate look in his eyes. His body is shadowed and the faces of these unsettling, decaying ghost children stare out from the shadows on his body. They're all over him and each is more disturbing than the last.
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We get a bit more information on some of the soldiers here which provides some context to the things they've seen while in the house. This book is still light on character development, but it makes up for it in the pulse-pounding story. You don't need to know every soldier's backstory to enjoy it. Instead, you have to know that these men went looking for hope and found nothing but horror. The dialogue towards the end of this issue hints at some much deeper connections that I'm looking forward to seeing explored further.
Every time I think The House has gotten the scariest it will be, it ups the ante. It keeps getting better and it's been gripping since page one. This building is full of mystery. Dread lurks around every corner. You will not want to put it down.