House of Whispers #5 – Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Writers; Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Artist; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: House of Whispers #5 stands out for being the first installment of the Sandman Universe line to have a creator change, as Dan Watters comes on as co-writer. Watters, the regular writer of Lucifer, may be doing scripting for novelist Hopkinson, and it remains to see if this is a permanent thing. There’s no significant difference in quality this issue, although this installment seems more grounded in the real world for the first part. The manipulative Shakpana introduced the bizarre living death curse into the world of humans, and it’s had terrible effects – Patient zero Latoya began infecting other people, and they’ve begun taking their own lives or lashing out at other people because they’re convinced they’re already dead. The two young girls who kicked off this whole thing, Lumi and Habibi, find one of their fathers has been possessed by a supernatural force and engage in a tense chase to a safe haven. It’s one of the creepier segments of the series.
But once the girls are reunited with Latoya and Maggie, things take a surreal turn. They’ve been contacted by Turtle, the mysterious being from the House of Whispers, and she’s taken on human form and helps them escape when their enemies come looking for them. This involves Turtle transforming back into her natural form – a massive turtle with an island on her back – and swallowing them whole.
The visuals in this book are great, of course, but the story can be a little abstract at points. This issue is also the best look we’ve gotten at Shakpana and what drives the character who serves as a parallel to the more famous Loki. Essentially a living plague vector and exiled from his family for their own safety, his resentment is understandable but it’s also driven him past the point of no return. Everyone in this series – human and supernatural, good and evil – feels real, and that goes a long way towards a compelling series.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.