House of Whispers #6 – Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Writers; Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Artist; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
The first arc of this clever original side-story to the world of the Dreaming wraps up in House of Whispers #6, pitting Mistress Erzulie and her allies against the ruthless Shakpana with all of humanity as the chess pieces. This issue, it’s the mysterious Uncle Monday’s chance to shine, as the crocodile-skinned man takes on a dangerous mission to save the day – entering the Dreaming and defying Judge Gallows’ rule to steal a book from the carefully ordered library. This is an eerie segment, with individual books talking to Monday along the way. It’s mixed with flashbacks to Monday’s origin story – a tragic tale rooted in the slave trade and a communion with the crocodiles of the Louisiana bayou. We also get our first look at what lurks under Monday’s signature top hat, and it’s a pretty disturbing – if also oddly funny – sight. There’s no character in this book that feels stale or too similar to another.
Well, besides maybe Shakpana. The main villain of the first arc started out as a charismatic trickster archetype, with a morbid fascination with death and a contemptuous view of humans. But as the arc’s gone on, he’s become a bit too much of a generic villain type. He’s shifted from an antihero with deep ties to the pantheon to a simple obstacle.
The conclusion to this arc throws together a lot of characters, both human and God, as they battle to undo Shakpana’s influence on the human world. The fix isn’t complete, but by the end, Shakpana is contained and Mistress Erzulie and Uncle Monday head off on their next adventure, unmoored from the human realm and trying to restore their connection to the Dreaming. The book doesn’t feel quite as good as it did when Hopkinson was writing solo, but it’s still a compelling side story to the events in The Dreaming, and I’m hoping the second arc builds on its strengths.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.