• Harrow County #27

    Harrow County #27
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: November 8th, 2017.
    Written by: Cullen Bunn
    Illustrated by: Tyler Crook
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    This issue starts out with a flashback. We see Bernice talking to Lovey, that old lady that tutored her, they’re talking about how things like dried out onions and old snake skin can make a potion strong enough to save your hide if you happen to come across a real with. The Bible will help too, but they’ll need more than just the good word to actually hurt witches. The Lord put things on the Earth so that his warriors might find them and put them to good use. She teaches her how to make ‘Witches Salt’ and other tricks. She teaches Bernice how she can kill a witch if she needs to. Bernice isn’t so sure she needs to, she’s certainly sure that she doesn’t want to.

    Cut to the present where a well-armed Bernice, who clearly paid attention to her lessons, is facing off against Kammi, ordering her to leave lest she make her regret this decision. The skinless boy is there at Bernice’s side as Kammi tells everyone within earshot that she’ll leave everyone else alone – she only wants Bernice, and Emmy of course. The two young women do battle.

    Emmy, meanwhile, is digging a grave for Pa. He tried to live a normal life and deserves a normal burial. But Emmy realizes she’s being watched, and when she figures out by who she heads over towards them to give them what for. She figures they’re the ones that killed Pa. The skin that’s been in her side bag for so long crawls free. Emmy heads towards the tree, the tree that started it all when Hester Beck had been hanged from it. She sees Hester’s corpse and then it starts to make sense. Emmy/Kammi/Hester – clearly there’s a connection here. There always has been. But then there’s Bernice and the skinless boy.

    This is going to get ugly.

    Quite likely the most visceral issue yet, Harrow County continues to get more intense with each chapter. Bunn’s story, by this point, has evolved from a tale of small town, backwoods supernatural horror to something bigger, something far more involved. Sure, the basis of a lot of this might be folk lore, the kinds of stories passed down in rural areas from generation to generation but that was just the starting point. Without forgetting the book’s roots or even its charm (and as dark as it gets Harrow County does have plenty of charm) this tale is nearing epic proportions. Good fights evil but never in the way you expect, there are plenty of surprises here, plenty of lives hanging in the balance, some of which are taken, deservedly or not. By crafting the characters as carefully as this series has, Harrow County has made sure that we care about its population before – in the last few issues – blasting us with both barrels.

    Tyler Crook’s artwork is every bit as good as the writing. There’s an insane amount of detail here, some wonderfully macabre creature design and some truly disturbing imagery in this particular issues. We won’t spoilt it, but you’ll know it when you see it. There are lot of comics out there where the writing is better than the art or the art is better than the writing. This isn’t one of them. It’s perfectly balanced, and thoroughly chilling.