This issue was exactly what I’d hoped it would be—and then some. We finally get to see what Emmy’s “family” is like. Last issue, Emmy came to find that she has kin much closer to her than she thought. All related to Hester, they have come to Harrow County in order to check up on Emmy and see what she’s been up to lately—also to put her in check if she’s doing anything wrong.
In this issue, Odessa is walking with Emmy through Harrow County. Emmy has to choose one of her siblings as a guide to teach her about her powers and how to use them (so she doesn’t screw things up like Hester did), so Odessa tells Emmy a little something about all her siblings, Hester, and a deceased sibling who died at the hands of Hester.
Odessa also tells Emmy about some rules, like how they are not gods, so they cannot have followers or worshippers (like Hester did). However, everyone in Harrow County reveres and fears Emmy, as if she was a god… This presents a big issue. At the end of the issue, Emmy is faced with a harsh truth: Harrow County must be destroyed.
Writer Cullen Bunn has thrown some twists in the plot with this issue. Not only does Emmy need to be with a mentor for the next year or so, but her freaking home needs to be destroyed! Fortunately (I think) her siblings offer to do it for her, but Emmy hasn’t really gotten a chance to fully react yet. I get the feeling that she is going to try and stop them, so I can’t wait to see what lengths she goes to in order to save her friends and family.
I’m really glad that Bunn decided to explore Emmy’s new family a bit more. Odessa spends some time on each member, discussing what type of magic they perform (Odessa—connection to woods and creatures therein, Levi—psychopomp who guides the dead to the afterlife, Mildred—force of disorder and chaos, Willa—knitting witch who controls fate, Kaine—bogeyman, Corbin—necromancer, and Amaryllis—able to bend reality). However, each character gets one panel. It works out pretty well in terms of where the eye moves, but I wasreally hoping we’d get some more information on them. Even so, we get the general idea of what everyone does. Some are good, and some are bad (I use these terms loosely—it all depends on how they use their magic). I get the distinct feeling that Odessa wants to be Emmy’s mentor, though.
Artist Tyler Crook’s illustrations are beautiful, as always. With his unique art style of watercolor blending, Crook is able to create an aesthetic completely exclusive to Harrow County. This issue, because of the many magical characters, has a lot more variety, design-wise, than usual. The artwork tells the story clearly and entertains us while doing so.
The characters are really expressive. When we see the grin on Hester’s face, it’s traumatizing! That’s the face of pure evil, and Crook sure knows how to send a chill down our spines.
This series gets better and better with every issue. At this point, I’m on the edge of my seat, because the entire fate of Harrow County is hanging by a thread. This entire series is true horror. This stuff isn’t simply slasher or monster or any cliché horror genre like that. This is sophisticated horror, disturbing and poignant, and is well worth the read.
Written by: Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by: Tyler Crook