Hotell #3 Review

by Nick Devonald on July 22, 2020

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

With Hotell John Lees’ has crafted a haunting anthology of tales, all of which have tied into each other however briefly, each focusing on telling the scariest of all stories, the ones focused less on the supernatural and more on the human aspect of horror.

This third issue follows Kristen Clements, a journalist on the trail of her abducted sister by a notorious serial killer, with the Pierrot Courts Hotel being their last known location. It feels like this tale is focused less on the serial killer and more on Clements’ relentless pursuit of the truth, this compulsion to discover her sisters fate overriding any danger she may be putting herself in.

There are a couple of elements that tie in nicely to the first issue in the series, and while not serving any purpose other than being a nice nod to previous events it helps to tie each issue together. It also appears we might be getting a tease for what to expect in the final story of the anthology as well.

Telling a one-shot horror story is much more challenging than building up a longer narrative, the character and plot need to be both introduced and concluded, usually with a clever twist, and here we don’t just have a one-shot we have the equivalent of four from Lees’. While it’s too early to comment on the final issue these first three have done a fantastic job. Lees’ also had the added challenge of tying these issues together and has managed it expertly. With this series Lees shows he has the skill and talent to tell scary and well written stories and marks himself as a horror writer to be watched.

Each of the tales has told a different style of horror from the last, and this one is no different. This time the conclusion of the story involves a rather claustrophic chase and haunting final image which will linger in the readers mind long after they've put the comic down, sure to keep them up at night.

The art from Dalibor Talajić has been great throughout and having the same artist on an anthology has been a nice touch. It’s worked particularly well when the stories have overlapped, seeing the same scene from a different perspective is a nice touch, and works especially well as Talajić is the artist on both the original and new scene. He manages to give our narrator, Jack, a creepy vibe that help to set the scene from the first pages of the comic. He also manages to deftly blend the supernatural occurrences seamlessly with the more mundane. Then towards the end of the comic there’s a claustrophobic sequence where the reader can feel the fear and tension from Clements, and it builds until the conclusion of the issue.

Lee Loughridge’s colours are exceptional. He’s worked on the majority of AWA’s releases, but the reader would be forgiven for not realising it was the same colourist on each of the releases because they’re each so differently coloured. There are excellent uses of lighting against dark backdrops which help to build the tension and fear up as the story progresses.

Another excellent tale in the Hotell anthology, Lees’ is a writer to be watched, capturing different horror aspects in each tale and satisfactorily concluding each story. The use of the supernatural is only a backdrop to explore the more human horror stories which Lees knows and used to fully tell the tale. The art and colours have been fantastic throughout the series and help to build up the tension in the story.

Our Score:


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