"DC House of Horror #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Keith Giffen, Edward Lee, Brian Keene, Mary SanGionvani, Ronald Malfi, Bryan Smith, Wrath James White, Nick Cutter, and Weston Ochse
Illustrated by Howard Porter, Scott Kolins, Bilquis Evely, Dale Eaglesham, Kyle Baker, Tom Raney, Rags Morales, Howard Chaykin
Colored by Hi-Fi, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Mat Lopes, Jordan Boyd, Kyle Baker, Gina Going-Raney, Lovern Kindzierski, and Wil Quintana
2017, 80 Pages, $9.99
Comic released on October 25th, 2017
Gather ‘round, children, and prepare yourselves for several spooky tales featuring an alien from Krypton, an Amazonian princess, and a Bat...man. Wait. What? No, you're not missing anything. DC Comics has released an oversized horror anthology called DC House of Horror packed with eight tales of terror starring twisted versions of your favorite heroes. Writer Keith Giffen drafted the plots for all of them and each is well worth checking out.
DC House of Horror opens strong with “Bump in the Night,” written by Edward Lee, showcasing an alternate take on the origin of Superman. We all know he was found as a child by Jonathan and Martha Kent, but what if he wasn't an innocent little baby? Howard Porter illustrates this haunting story as Martha runs from a rampaging child with heat vision and super strength. The Kent Farm goes from quaint Middle America normal to pure terror as this monster starts tearing it apart, hunting his would-be adopted mother.
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The design for this dark Superboy is creepy to say the least. He's shrouded in darkness and looks disheveled, like he was raised by wolves out in the woods. There's one panel where Clark Kent's signature spit curl can be seen, but that doesn't take away from the monstrous qualities of this alien.
What is amazing with DC House of Horror is just how twisted and gory the stories are. This isn't lesser-known characters like Animal Man or Swamp Thing, which have delved into horror in the past. We're dealing with the upper echelon of the DC Universe and they're put in some pretty horrific situations. For example, “Man's World,” written by Mary SanGiovani and illustrated by Bilquis Evely, has a young girl possessed by a version of Wonder Woman and going on a killing spree. Her hands and face are covered in blood as she murders indiscriminately while speaking in foreign tongues.
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The standout story in this one-shot is “Last Laugh” by Nick Cutter and Rags Morales. It is a chilling tale featuring Bruce Wayne as he has reached the end of his rope. He's sitting in the Bat Cave with a gun in his hand as he's arguing with the Joker...or is he? This haunting tale grips you from the very beginning and never lets go. It shows just how close to darkness Batman is. He walks a fine line between sanity and madness. This is what could happen if things went horribly wrong.
With the success of things like Afterlife with Archie, I would absolutely love to see any one of these stories expanded upon as an ongoing Elseworlds title. I'd be happy if this anthology became a yearly event too. DC House of Horror is evidence that the publisher can do horror and do it well. Pulling on our deep and long-standing connection to these characters and putting them in harrowing situations is only going to make for fun and amazing horror stories.