DC House of Horror #1

by Michael D on October 25, 2017

Writer: Keith Giffin; Various
Artist:  Various
Publisher:  DC Comics

Halloween is just around the corner and that means spooky specials are upon us! DC is releasing a special House of Horror one-shot to celebrate. The book carries with it a hefty price tag of $9.99 but it’s filled with over 80 pages of spooky goodness.  It’s an anthology issue with each story set outside continuity. The entire one-shot is plotted by Keith Giffin but each story is written but a contemporary horror writer. If you are a fan of the horror genre, there is a lot of fun to be had here.

While each story is plotted by Giffin, they’re all written and drawn by different writers and artist. The different writers really help to give each story a totally unique voice. In this one-shot, we’re treated to eight different stories, involving eight different characters:  Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Batman, and Shazam. I really enjoyed about half of these while the other half was mediocre or just bizarre.

It starts with a Superman story that I found to be really fitting and well written for a spooktacular one-shot. It is written by Edward Lee and drawn by Howard Porter. In this book, Superman lands in Smallville but it’s not the same Superman we’re accustomed to. This Superman is unrelenting and terrifying.  It’s very tense and does so by never giving you a good look of the monster till the very end. 

The next story is a Wonder Woman tale that I found bizarre. At a teen sleepover, when they decide to whip out the Ouija board, the spirit of an Amazonian warrior possesses one of the girls and goes on a murder spree. While it has some fun with the typical horror tropes, I found it bland because it didn’t really play with any of the Wonder Woman mythos. You could have swapped it for a boring ghost and it would have made no difference. I think some of the fun with these one-shots is seeing the horror tropes collide with the universe we love and produce something new.

Next up is the Harley Quinn story. This one was a lot of fun and one of the best. If you’re expecting something light hearted and goofy just because it’s Harley Quinn, prepared to be disappointed. It’s about a man who slowly loses his mind and starts to commit murders for Harley. It’s dark and the art is great for this piece. It really compliments the mood of the story.

After that we’re treated to a Batman story. It’s a story that grapples with the state of mind someone has to be to dress up as a bat every night to fight crime. It’s interesting but I felt like it’s something we’ve seen done before, this one just happens to be a little more brutal and dark.

Next is a Justice League story but it’s really a Green Lantern story. It’s a straight up zombie story, very similar to Marvel Zombies. It’s a formula that works and it’s a ton of fun. If you like zombies, then you’ll like this.

We are then treated to a Green Arrow story, which I was not a fan of. It is about a really brutal, murderous Arrow Killer vigilante who is terrorizing a city, so basically season one CW Arrow. The Arrow Killer never really spoke, hardly developed.  I didn’t really understand what the purpose of this story was or how it related to horror besides being overly brutal.

Next up is a Two-Face story that plays with the serial killer tropes. It’s really well done but it is also, for some really strange reason, has a monster movie has its backdrop. I giant monster is terrorizing Gotham all while our main character searches for a killer who rips people’s faces off. The drama is played up nicely but the monster movie going on in the background is just…. weird.

Finally, the finally story is a Shazam! story, which is the one I was most excited about. The title, The Possession of Billy Baxton, sounded really promising but what we got was an angsty, emo Billy who heard voices in his head. I guess Shazam was supposed to be a demon possessing him but I found it half developed and a huge waste of potential.

That’s all the stories included in this one-shot. There were some genuinely interesting stories but about half of them were forgettable. At least the art was consistently good throughout. I have no problem recommending this book to fans of the horror genre but otherwise, with the big price tag, your money is better spent somewhere else.

Our Score:


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