Hotell #4 Review

by Nick Devonald on August 18, 2020

Writer: John Lees
Artist: Dalibor Talajić
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Sal Cipriano

The concluding issue in the Hotell anthology lives up to the high standards of the three issues which came before, with a self contained story which also manages to wrap up the other three tales into a horrifying package. This issue deals with a father, with help from a priest, attempting to exorcise a demon from his son. While it’s a story which has been explored plenty of times before John Lees’ manages to keep it feeling new and exciting. The reader is never sure whether the son is possessed or whether the father and the priest are both delusional. There is evidence for both, and it’s this uncertainty which will drive readers on to discover the truth.

It works well as a stand alone story but it also ties up all of the previous stories in the anthology. There is a loose connection between each of the stories and it’s handled deftly enough here that it brings the whole anthology together to tell a coherent story across each issue. Previous events hadn’t made it clear but the entire anthology takes place over a single weekend. Each story also gets a bit of resolution which the reader wasn’t aware was lacking until we get the conclusion in this story. It’s a complete story, but the ending implies this won’t be the last we here from the Pierot Court Hotel. We also learn a few more details about the Hotel which go some way to explaining why the supernatural seems drawn here.

Each story has told drastically different tales from each other one, with varying levels of supernatural and horror in each story. But one thing that each story has had in common is how well told and satisfying each story has been. This one is no different. The other common thread running through the stories has been the narrator, Jack. This issue starts like the rest, with a monologue from Jack, but this one is particularly chilling. It sets the tone right from the start of the issue and creates a palpable sense of tension from the first page.

Having Dalibor Talajić as the artist throughout the anthology has also helped each story feel like a smaller part of the whole. It also means the panels in each comic which cross over with another one of the issues work even more effectively and create the sense of one bigger story being told. Talajić is as capable of showing readers the more human horror stories as he is of embracing the crazier supernatural elements that Lees’ throws in. He uses clever positioning within the panels to tell more of the story from different perspectives, allowing the reader to see what the characters see and then telling us more in the next panel. He is as responsible for the tension which is building across the comic as the story that Lees’ is telling.

Lee Loughridge’s colours never cease to impress. His work on Hotell is so different to his work on Old Haunts, which in turn is so different from his work on Year Zero. Each of these AWA comics has an incredibly different look and feel which is in no small part down to the quality of the work he produces. He captures the eclipse incredibly well, and is instrumental in building the tension throughout the issue. Darkened rooms contrast nicely with flames later on in the issue.

An excellent conclusion to an anthology filled with vastly different horror stories, John Lees’ manages to not only tell an exciting stand alone story he also manages to tie it all together to tell a cohesive, larger tale. Hopefully this won’t be our last visit to the Pierot Courts Hotel. Having the same creative team across the anthology has worked well for the larger story telling aspects, and the art from Dalibor Talajić has been a great fit for the horror stories which Lees’ has been telling. Horror fans won’t be disappointed with either this issue, or the anthology as a whole.

Our Score:


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