After last month’s superb installment, Harrow County returns for more rural chills. Is it good?
Harrow County #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
Remember that awesome/awful looking monster that was stalking Emmy? Well, it’s also emotionally unstable and very upset. After expressing some severe attachment and abandonment issues, it (sort of) attacks her.
Emmy flees through the forest. She’s eventually found and rescued by the town pharmacist. The sweet, kind-hearted, can’t-possibly-be-evil-because-he’s-a-nice-old-man who she’s known since she was little couldn’t possibly be evil, right? Well, that depends on how you look at it. Either way, he’s not the savior Emmy was hoping for.
He takes her back to his house and offers up a heaping dose of creepy posturing and solid exposition. We end up learning a great deal about the witch that Emmy is descended from (or is), including one detail in particular that turns the whole series on its head.
Armed with this new knowledge, Emmy heads back home to do what she must…and then there’s a coda that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.
Is It Good?
So I looked ahead at the previews for the next couple issues and I think I see what the bizarre ending is leading up to. It sounds pretty cool, but you shouldn’t have to do that to follow the story.
That misstep aside, Harrow County #4 is another excellent chapter in a top-notch horror comic series. Tyler Crook opens things up with a stunning two-page spread and never lets up, giving us an issue that looks even better than the last one. And even though I cracked wise a bit about the pharmacist reveal, Crook’s artwork makes him and his scenes with Emmy even scarier than the ones involving demons and monsters.
I HAVE MOMMY ISSUES!!!
On the writing end of things, Cullen Bunn continues to create a terrifying atmosphere while evolving the series’ mythology. There’s a fascinating parallel that can be drawn between Hester and the townsfolk to God and mankind…or mankind’s relationship to authority. Either way, it’s a really cool twist that completely changes the narrative’s dynamic.
Bunn also does a great job playing with our expectations about what path Emmy will take as Hester’s history is revealed. I’m not sure I agree with how Emmy and her father interact with each other after everything that’s happened between them, but aside from that (and the weird ending), this was another great issue.