The House of Lost Horizons: A Sarah Jewell Mystery #4 Review

by Nick Devonald on August 11, 2021

Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Leila Del Duca
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins

With the penultimate issue of the first Sarah Jewell mystery answers begin flowing thick and fast. As is standard fare in these type of murder stories nothing is quite as it appears, and as explanations begin to explain each of the various characters strange behaviour the house rapidly changes from a house of potential murderers to one where the list of suspects has rapidly dropped. And then just at the point where readers are scratching their heads trying to work out just who the murderer could be, and what their motivations are, suddenly a cliffhanger ending presents yet another twist.

This issue does a great job of introducing characters to the story, who in typical Mignolaverse fashion, are almost guaranteed to pop up again. Just as Sarah Jewell and Marie-Thérèse LaFleur appeared with no warning in Rise of the Black Flame, a couple of characters in particular really stand out here and are sure to make return journeys, potentially even in their own miniseries like this one. For her first solo comic, House of Lost Horizons, Chris Roberson has done an excellent job with Sarah Jewell, who has countless untapped stories barely mentioned over the course of the Mignolaverse just dying to be told. From her history with Sir Edward Grey and the Silver Lantern Club, to her latter day stories investigating the cult of the Black Flame, she’s played an important part in the universe while readers have barely scratched the surface of her story.

Leila Del Duca has done an incredible job with the art over the course of the series. A big part of a good comic is getting the right artist to tell the right story, and that’s the perfect pairing we’ve got here. Her style is perfectly suited to telling the story here. Too often reviews focus on the writer of the comic at the expense of the artist, which is unjust as the art is responsible for such a large part of the storytelling. The artist helps set the tone from the second the reader opens the page, even before the first word of dialogue has been said. And that’s why the choice of artist can make such a massive difference in the tone and feel of the comic. All of that is a long-winded way of saying that Del Duca is an excellent choice for the story here. She manages to really capture the characters expressions, and in a story like this where there is a mystery to solve that is crucial to telling a good story. It only deepens the mystery and increases readers enjoyment.

Another solid entry in the first solo Sarah Jewell story, readers will love it and no prior knowledge of the Mignolaverse is required. One of the joys of stories like this is while it fleshes out Hellboys world, filling in blanks for long-time fans of the universe, not once is Hellboy or the B.P.R.D. mentioned. It means any reader could pick this story up and enjoy it, while long-time fans will love learning about another corner of the world we hadn’t previously read about. The art elevates the story to make this an intriguing and entertaining read. A murder mystery with a number of eclectic characters trapped inside a house, with the occult and supernatural looming in the background? Mignola fans will absolutely love this series.

Our Score:


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