Harrow County #17

by H├ęctor A on October 20, 2016

Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Carla Speed McNeil
Colors: Jenn Manley Lee
Letters: Tyler Crook
Publisher: DC


Harrow County #17 tells the story of one of the more memorable and mysterious characters in the series, The Abandoned (yellow eyes, horns, you know the guy). The issue sees McNeil and Lee return to the series, they drew issue #9, which introduced Levi, the antagonist (sort of) of the previous arc (#13-#16). McNeil and Lee will also stick around for next issue as they finish telling The Abandoned's origin story.


While Tyler Crook is one of my favorite artists, I don't mind it too much to have someone else filling in if they're as good as Carla Speed McNeil. There are some aspects of the book that are improved by the latter's art, with McNeil's portrayal of Emmy being arguably better than Crook's, for instance. Despite being the protagonist, Emmy is pretty much the least interesting part of Harrow County, every other character gravitates around her but she doesn't have a particularly strong personality, if there's one fault in Crook's art for this book is that Emmy only ever seems to be surprised or angry. Even though she only appears in the framing story, she has a more interesting persona here. There's more nuance to her facial expressions and she displays a wider range of emotions. I would like to see McNeil do an arc that focuses on her more heavily, she also appeared very sporadically on Harrow County #9.


The whole issue is really accomplished visually. I like how McNeil draws The Abandoned too. His form was always shown as more ambiguous and here he's more concrete, if that makes sense. Which makes his physicality more believable. McNeil's portrayal of Levi is really good. There's a page where he's drawn with the same twisted smile in every panel as he talks to someone else and it's a really good way to show the unsettling core of that character.


Jenn Manley Lee's coloring is very effective. The grimier look on The Abandoned's tale is wildly different to the livelier palette of the framing story but The Abandoned stands out in both of them. Crook does the lettering and it's kind of astonishing how seamless the fit of his hand-drawn sound effects is with McNeil's art. Those have grown to become one of my favorite things about the book. I also loved Crook's covers for this arc, they are simpler and they have a more striking and memorable palette. They may be my favorite covers for the series.


There's too much story here for the whole arc to be condensed into one issue but there's not a lot of clear emotional beats so the book feels overlong. This time it is Cullen Bunn instead of Tyler Crook writing the back-up story. It is more straight-forward and gory, lacking the eerie feeling that Crook's stories have but the Owen Gieni's detailed art is a pleasant surprise.


Harrow County delivers another issue with great art with Carla Speed McNeil and Jenn Manley Lee filling in for Tyler Crook. However, the storytelling continues to be a bit hit-or-miss.

Our Score:


A Look Inside