Things are getting freakier and more evil by day in Hallam, where the Witchfinder continues his murder investigation. Is it good?
Witchfinder: Mysteries of Unland #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
After witnessing a gruesome death in the last issue, Sir Edward Grey heads back into town. Upon reaching Hallam, he finds the find the local law enforcement coaching some folks to speak well of their sinister city. After we’ve been beaten over the heads a bit more about the police being corrupt and the people of Hallam being weird, Grey departs for the home of Horace Poole (the man who invented the elixir that started this whole thing).
Once he arrives, Grey flirts with Mr. Poole’s daughter a bit before finding Mr. Poole bedridden and screaming incoherently…although his repeated use of the word “curse” might give you a hint to where this is all going.
Grey believes that Poole’s ailment is the result of witchcraft, while the daughter is convinced that there’s a medical explanation. As they leave the room, however, the reader is shown that the (supposedly) great detective has missed a glaringly obvious clue.
It also turns out that Mr. Poole’s fevered ramblings may have held some interesting truths. This leads Grey to chase down a new and promising lead…and gives us yet another crazy final image that foreshadows a great deal of danger ahead for the grumpy detective.
Is It Good?
It took an extra issue, but Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland just hit its sophomore slump. That’s not to say that this is a bad issue at all, but it’s definitely nowhere near as strong as the last two.
For starters, a lot of the story beats are either things we’ve already covered extensively (corrupt/inept law enforcement, hidden oppression, etc.) or all too familiar tropes (insane man gives valuable new information).
Note: This is very similar to my reactions during the series finale of LOST.
It’s also hard for me to believe that such a great detective could miss the item we were shown LAYING UNDER HORACE POOLE’S BED. I mean, seriously…that’s the first place you look for evil and witchcraft, right? Maybe that’s just me.
Also, the ‘Slow burn to OH SNAP ending’ pattern of each issue is beginning to feel a bit tired. The dialogue and fantastic artwork is enough to overcome it, but the last page of this one felt like a letdown compared to how the prior issues ended.
But despite this chapter falling short of the others, Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland remains a strong series. Let’s hope that things getting shaken up a bit in next month’s penultimate issue.