If you are looking for a tale that is sure to be a dark piece of horror in the style that would make Mike Mignola proud, you should look no further than Dark Horse’s upcoming ‘Harrow County.’ In fact, Mignola enjoyed it so much that he called it “A rare thing- both wonderfully charming and genuinely disturbing” and the first issue gives you just enough to understand why. What secrets lie dormant in ‘Harrow County’ that are just waiting for the right time to reemerge? What sins have been committed which must be atoned for?
The introduction in Cullen Bunn’s new horror series teases witchcraft and bargains with demons. He opens the door on the murder of a witch in the past and slams us forward to the present where it would seem like death may not have kept her in the ground. Things are not what they seem on an old farm and a young woman is being kept in the dark about what actually happened in the past.
Tyler Crook has a style that isn’t quite out of the world that Mignola fits in but would fit rather well into a related book. While Bunn’s tale doesn’t appear to be connected to the Lovecraftian and demonic horrors found within Mignola’s work, you could almost see hints of a relation there. Some of the characters in the modern scenes don’t seem fleshed out enough compared to the rest of the book. The portions that deal directly with witches and demons didn’t take me out of the story at all. It was noticeable and if the tale itself wasn’t so strong, it may have been more than a distraction. But for a first issue, it is just a minor complaint.
We’re introduced at the very onset of the book to a witch who was a beloved friend of the town. However, as she turned to darker arts to increase her own powers the townsfolk could no longer turn a blind eye to what was going on in their midst. Sure, it wasn’t an issue when it benefited them directly, but some acts were just too much to ignore. Her death came in the form of an execution and it came with a price. A curse was laid upon those that took her life with her promise of returning to exact her revenge. The time for that revenge is at hand and it all centers around a young girl named Emmy who appears to be the main character that we’ll be following. Witchcraft, bargains with demons, and ghosts who shed their skins are all coming into play here and if you love paranormal works of fiction this is one you won’t be able to put down.
With a strong setup it was quite easy for Bunn and Crook to guarantee that I’ll be snagging at least the first few issues of ‘Harrow County.’ While not a perfect issue art wise, when it came to some of the more casual scenes it really fit the tone and mood for where the action and suspense were found. A mystery spread over time that sounds like it will have some terrifying consequences for a past sin really sets well with me and I can’t wait to see how this plays out.
HARROW COUNTY #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook