The second book in a three part series mixes haunted houses, extrasensory perception, and Deadman. Sounds like a creepy premise I want to get in on, but is it good?
Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #2 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
The bimonthly miniseries continues! After Deadman and Adelia’s sudden disappearance, Berenice begins to unlock the mysteries of Glencourt Manor. With evil lurking around every corner, Berenice longs to confide in her boyfriend Nathan about what she has discovered, but she fears what he may think of her…instead, Berenice finds a sympathetic ear in Sam, who shows Berenice what it means to be a true friend.
Why does this book matter?
We adored the first issue, particularly for its atmospheric art and intriguing premise that uses a hero we don’t see enough of. There’s a romantic melodrama feel to the series with a dark mystery you’ll want to figure out.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Don’t freak out Boston!
This issue splits between Deadman becoming acquainted with a ghost in the first portion and then switches to Bernice and her researching the old mansion she now resides in. This split allows Deadman to probe the ghost’s past, peeling back information in regards to the mystery, and then allow Bernice to do the same. Along the way Bernice checks in with the two supporting characters which thoroughly mixes the mystery together nicely.
Sarah Vaughn continues to write good dialogue that’s natural and efficient. You get a sense of the characters’ dismay, fear, or rage depending on the scene. It also does well to deliver key character details that may reveal things you didn’t see coming. The plotting of the issue is good too as it mixes the supernatural elements into the story well. Vaughn also places Deadman in a unique position that effectively forces him to question his place in the world.
The art by Lan Medina is beautiful and may be even prettier without color (just look at our pre colored preview). Phil Hester’s breakdowns give sequences in this book a dreamlike quality that suits the haunted mansion feel. Altogether this book is very pretty. Take for instance this full page spread using a glow on Deadman and his ghost friend, with an interesting, almost impossibly high point of view of Bernice. It’s somewhat haunting, but also fantastical in its point of view. Colors by José Villarrubia keep the colors muted in a cold sort of way that enhances the haunted atmosphere.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Bernice’s relationships with Sam and her husband are somewhat confusing. At one moment she’s supportive and appearing to be in love with her husband, in another she’s having conflicted feelings about Sam and I’m left wondering if this is melodramatic or building towards something. The uncertainty of these relationships come off as somewhat underwritten, especially with Bernice and her husband (though admittedly his persona is obtuse for obvious reasons).
Being ghosts can kind of stink.
Is It Good?
If you love novels like Rebecca (or the adaptation by Hitchcock) you’ll find it hard not to be wrapped up in its atmospheric and mystical glow. Though somewhat melodramatic when it comes to relationships, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love may be the sleeper hit of the year.