By Arpad Okay. Our Week In Review collects our thoughts on the comics that demand attention. Do you have a deep-rooted desire to know what we think about all your favorite books? Well. This is where you need to be.
House of Penance #3
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Peter Tomasi.
Illustrated by Ian Bertram; colors by Dave Stewart.
Lettered by Nate Piekos.
AOK: Peter Tomasi and Ian Bertram continue to serve up a delightful array of obscene sundries and unexpected wrinkles. From the first page they upset the established, bleak tone of the book and allow an angel to grace the monstrous house Sarah Winchester is erecting. Sarah’s sister, Mary, is a harbinger of change. A little light is let into this series’ dark corners.
The guilty fever dreams still linger. The pages of House of Penance still run slick with blood, wormy ropes of phantom guts continue to permeate the flesh in nearly every panel. Bertram’s pen is set free and scribbly in these dreams — though in the waking world the faces remain angular and bloated, soft and savage as the fantasies. It all falls together with unpleasant ease. The art renders the repellent, skewed perspective of murderers and the mad. It’s frequently psychedelic and kind of disgusting.
Despite madness being everywhere, the story Tomasi tells remains coherent. The madness just makes it unpredictable. Turning the corners of the Winchester House can lead to a dead end where a corridor should be, or a door that opens to nothing. Stranger still, this issue shows there is space for more than just ghosts and intestines. House of Penance makes room in its third issue for romance, laughter that isn’t barked out from behind clenched teeth, the potential for redemption, even some Shakespeare. Taking time to be both touching and gut-wrenching amplifies the intensity of both. Love and violence and regret. It stirs up what haunts us.
8 out of 10
From earlier this week —
Agree? Disagree? What books are YOU reading this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.