Poe makes a stand under the House of Usher and confronts not only Roderick Usher, but his own inner demons. Also, will his brother William survive an attack by the Golem dog after narrowly escaping the Pendulum? What of Williamâ€™s wife Elaine? Will she die so Madeline Usher may live?
From Boom! Studios we have the final installment of the Gothic mystery mini-series by J. Barton Mitchell and Dean Kotz, scheduled for release today (October 29, 2009). Thanks to the wonders of modern day science, I was given the opportunity to read this issue before it was released. Better yet, I get to share my thoughts with you on it.
In the first issue, we are introduced to a tortured Edgar Allen Poe who is still struggling over the death of his wife, Virginia. Besieged by ghost, his policeman brother, William, has had him placed in a home so he can recover. But young Mr. Poeâ€™s torment proves to be to much for the residents and workers at the home, and his brother is forced to remove him. On their way home, his brother is called to the scene of a murder and that is the launching point for our story.
By the second issue, we have dove headlong into a mystery with mystical origins. William, completely unprepared for such a thing, is aided by his brother Edgar, whose writings have given him a unique insight into many aspects of the normal and the paranormal.Â After a harrowing flight from the Red Death, Roderick Usher in disguise, and a battle with more golem creatures, a stricken Edgar begs to be left alone. He has discovered the nature of the ancient coins that the murders have been committed over, and wants nothing to do with them.
In the third issue, Poe is offered a deal by Roderick Usher, the villain of our piece, which Poe refuses. He awakens to find himself imprisoned in a cage in the basement of the Usher House, his brother tied to a table with a bladed pendulum descending on him, and his sister-in-law captive, the subject of an attempt to resurrect Roderick Usherâ€™s dead sister, Madeline.
The fourth issue continues the pacing of the previous installments. As the brotherâ€™s Poe escape their individual bonds and traps, Edgar rushes to save Elaine only to find that Roderick has nearly completed the spell to bring his dead sister Madeline back from the grave. As Elaine fights for her live against the specter of Madeline Usher, Edgar fights the effects of Roderickâ€™s hallucination powder and brother William struggles to defeat the last of the Golem hounds. Lives peoples lives and souls hang in the balance, and victory is not assured.
For the record, I was completely caught off guard by this series. I went back and read the first three issues simply so I could have a little background on the story, and ended up being thoroughly entertained.Â J. Barton Mitchellâ€™s Poe is a character that echoes what we know of the real man, and at the same time gives him a new set of traits and circumstances that lead into the mystery we read in the series. Literary liberties, such as brother William being a policeman, are abound, but oddly enough they seem natural. While some historical fiction drops names and events to set their world view, Mitchell handles it slightly differently. Events and people that appear in the story are clearly taken from Poeâ€™s real world work, but you can see how and why it would inspire him later, from classic poems the Raven and Annabelle Lee to the Cask of Amontillado and the Fall of the House of Usher, these little things sneak up and present themselves in a completely convincing way.
The art work syncs well with the story also. Dean Kotz delivers a Victorian style of work that immerses you and sets a stage. His use of straight lines in the shadows reminds me of the early line art enough that it enhances the feel of the story.Â At the same time, it has a loose feeling that lets the story flow around it. His Edgar Allen Poe looks like Poe, and that actually a pretty big thing in this day and age. The colors by Digikore Studios are well done and enhance the artwork, not that it needs much enhancement. Some scenes, such as one where our protagonists are surrounded by fire, are made by the colors, and you get a feeling of the flame as a living being.
Iâ€™m glad the opportunity came up to review this book. Itâ€™s a great tale that is outside what I normally read and kept me entertained throughout. Iâ€™m giving Poe #4, 4.5 out of 5 stars. I was entertained and it even got me to go back and check out the previous issues, which is always a plus.
Boom! Studios sent Major Spoilers a copy of this issue for review.