"Long Lost #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Scout Comics
Written by Matthew Earman
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 27th, 2017
Frances comes to visit her sister Piper only to find a deformed creature stalking her in her own house. It turns out it just wanted to invite the girls to their mother's 55th birthday party in their hometown of Hazel Patch. This sends them on a road trip that will end in them confronting their past and the strangeness about their mother, if they can make it there without fighting too much.
Long Lost began shrouded in normalcy as we saw Piper's boring everyday life invaded by an eerie specter. This issue picks up with the sisters surprisingly OK with the weirdness they've just witnessed. You'd think if you saw a creepy being like something out of Princess Mononoke mixed with the little girl from The Ring, you'd be freaking out a bit more. It makes me wonder if this is something they've seen before. Maybe it's somehow related to their mother, who is suffering from some form of mental illness.
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The being that invites them to the party is so very unsettling. It's the kind of thing that if you found it in your house, you'd be sanitizing everything you've ever owned forever if you didn't just up and move. It's clad in long dark robes and its face is hidden by a strange, lifeless mask. This is knocked away at one point, revealing a crumbled mass of flesh, like a tumor with an eye. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit after writing that last sentence. If this is how we're introduced to the horror in Long Lost, I can't imagine what artist Lisa Sterle has in store for the rest of the series.
The rest of Long Lost #2 largely consists of Piper and Frances on the road to Hazel Patch. They have awkward conversations, as they haven't spoken to each other in some time. They've drifted apart and something has pulled them together again. There are a number of little oddities that maintain the feeling of dread created in the first issue. These things on their own might not draw much attention, but added together and following the creature who invited them, and it becomes a recipe for terror. Every step they take towards their hometown has me screaming at them to turn back. There are no good things waiting for them there. Not even cake.
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The horror of Long Lost is contrasted by the warm qualities of Piper and Frances. They look like two everyday girls living their lives. If you didn't know why they were heading home, you'd think this was from an innocent road trip movie. They could play some mixtapes and share fun memories before finding themselves on the open road. Sterle's artwork creates that upbeat feeling, but there's a thread of foreboding that is ever present, particularly in Piper's facial expressions. It's like she can't relax, which is understandable given what she's just gone through.
You just know the girls in Long Lost are heading towards unimaginable horrors. They can't turn back now as it wouldn't make for much of a story, would it? I have no idea what to expect once they get to Hazel Patch, but it can't be good. This kind of uneasy feeling is tough to produce in any medium, let alone comics, but writer Matthew Erman and artist Lisa Sterle have captured the perfect combination and I'm hooked.