Jace is determined to rescue Sunny from Jolie’s clutches, but she is a clever hunter. Is she after the boy, or does she have another quarry in mind? Find out in House of Slaughter #13 from BOOM! Studios.
HOUSE OF SLAUGHTER #13
Writer: Tate Brombal
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Andworld Design
Editor: Eric Harburn
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 15, 2023
Previously in House of Slaughter: Sunny ran away from Jace, found another monster, and was picked up by Jolie. He awakens in her car. She tells him she killed the monster. He does not tell her about Jace. Meanwhile, Jace is on the move, getting the other kids out of the immediate area. He remembers Jolie when they were kids, how competitive they were. Jolie stops the car. She tells Sunny they are now hunting the monster’s babies. Sunny wants to come along. As they walk, he sneaks off long enough to mark some trees. Jolie coaxes him into telling her about the monster he saw. She talks about how her group could also be a family to him. Then, once they are in a clearing, she eases away, leaving him alone.
THE VELVET SNARE
House of Slaughter #13 opens as Jolie brings Sunny to the Butcher Shop, a house that looks grand and elegant to the little boy. Still, he says his dad would not like his being there, and he just wants to go home. She agrees immediately and then wonders regretfully what they are going to do about the welcome dinner and dessert they had set up for him. He is hungry, and he would hate to let anyone down, especially if they went through so much trouble.
Inside, the mansion is bright and full of young people. Sunny immediately loves it. And no one wears a mask, except for one young Black woman, introduces as Maxine Slaughter, visiting from up north for some training. Jolie tells her that wearing masks is not their culture; they are more like family here. Then an older woman, Vionette, arrives. She is there to take Jolie and Sunny to see Cassius.
Jace walks through the streets of New Orleans. A couple of kids playing tag along the street bring back his memories of his childhood and Jolie. The sound of crows brings him out of his reverie.
Vionette gives us a little more history. The original house burned down, and this new house was rebuilt as closely as possible to the original. She does mention that some things were irreplaceable, just as Sunny walks past a portrait of young Jace and his family, his family of Legacy hunters. And then they reach Cassius, who wears a gold metal mask of teeth. Sunny politely asks if he can stay for supper. Cassius removes his mask and smiles, but says nothing. Vionette explains that on the day of the fire, he gave up talking, took his oaths, and became their leader. She further explains he welcomes Sunny and says they will treat him as family as long as he is here.
Jace follows the crows to where an old woman whom he calls Maven is feeding them. He asks if she has something to say to him. She admits she mourned for his death – the death of the last Legacy hunter on American soil. He tells her he has been having nightmares. She tells him he escaped from here once, and he escaped life. Why has he come back? Jace admits he is here to get Sunny out of the Butcher Shop. All he wants to know is where he can find Jolie on her own so he can talk to her.
She knows a place and she tells him but not without urging him once more to get away and to leave all of this behind him.
NEW FACES BEHIND OLD MASKS
One of the things I continue to like about the art in House of Slaughter #13 is the depiction of Jolie. She continues to keep up a friendly façade with Sunny, giving him enough space that he feels he is making the decisions while she deftly reels him in. Once she gets to the Butcher Shop, we can sense that there are conflicts in play, and she slides on through them. Some of her sweet comments may be quite barbed, but she works hard to keep her face pleasant and smiling. In a way, she is like the Butcher Shop which also seems so cheerful and almost normal on the surface, hiding its secrets in plain sight.
I also like the use of crows in the art and as a connection to Maven. It is autumn, and when Jace hears their raucous calls, it looks atmospheric, especially since it is autumn. When we next see them, they gather around Maven as pigeons would. She is a spare old woman clothed in black. She looks exactly as she should if she is someone who has a bond with crows. Something about them fluttering in the background of her conversation with Jace and sometimes adding their own voices to the discussion gives an occult flavor to their interaction. And that gives her warning even more foreboding.
BOTTOM LINE: THE PATIENCE OF THE HUNT
House of Slaughter #13 shows that the Butcher Shop lives on even though Jace’s family are all dead. In the new house that has come up in its place, are things the same, or have there been some subtle changes?
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House of Slaughter #13
Sunny is drawn further into the Butcher Shop and Jace feels he must follow.