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Harrow County #13

by H├ęctor A on June 08, 2016

Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse

I can't help but feel that Harrow County works really well as an anthology so far. Although it's pretty early on its run and there's clearly a throughline in these books, 4 of the last 5 issues (including this one) work perfectly fine as jumping-on points. That said it seems like the arc starting with this issue will tie more heavily with some of the previous ones (issues #9-#11).

 

I really like seeing more depth in how Bernice and Emmy interact between them, as some tension forms as they search for Clinton, whom we first met on issue #10, a local boy who's lost in the fields. I think my only problem with the series is that I find the protagonists to be the least interesting characters so far, last issue may be the weakest in the series because Emmy had no other well-defined character to be contrasted with. Although Bernice did have a couple issues (#10-11) where she was the main character, the development she saw during that arc was a bit dissapointing. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed them but I found Lovey to be more interesting in them. That being said, I have high hopes for this arc because the way this issue plays out, it seems like there will be more of Lovey in the future and it's definitely going to be interesting to see how Bernice and Emmy's friendship evolves going forward.

 

The atmosphere in the book really props it up, and I can't help but admire the structure Bunn and Crook follow, where every issue opens with third-person narration. Combined with the paneling (cf: the close-up on Clinton's eyes on pg. 6), it establishes the tone of each book from the beginning. Towards the end of the book Crook uses a gorgeous wide panel to represent the strain growing between Bernice and Emmy. It's not a complex trick but it's incredibly effective to reflect the emotional state of the characters. I've become a big fan of Tyler Crook, when I picked up this title for the first time I thought the color palette he uses wouldn't fit with a horror comic at all but his attention to detail makes the art really immersive. Something like that final page alone would make me keep reading the series.

 

The book also has Matt Kindt and Brian Hurtt as artists on the back-up story “The Butler”, written by Crook himself, as most of the previous back-ups. I have to say, I really enjoy the idea of one or two-page long vignettes coupled with longer main stories, Kindt also used back-ups to expand the world of Mind MGMT. I had really enjoyed the way previous back-ups were written on this title, as self-contained one-page tales with a twist on the final panel but this one seems to be the first part of a continuing story. It doesn't deviate from the formula too much in that it does have something like a twist at the end but it is a revelation that has already been used for other characters on past issues. On the plus side, it does have the return of one of the more interesting characters previously introduced so I'm still hoping we get to learn more about them.

 

To sum up, while this isn't as strong of an issue as some of the previous ones and the back-up story was a bit of let-down, Crook is great on this as usual and I think the next few issues have the potential to be better and really cement Bernice and Emmy as great characters.

Our Score:

7/10

A Look Inside