House of Whispers #7 – Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Writers; Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Artist; Isaac Goodhart, Amancan Nahuelpan, Aneke, Finishes; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
The Sandman Universe line of books continues to be an odd and cosmic large-scale story, with each of the four books reflecting the collapse of the Dreaming in their own way. House of Whispers has told that story through the perspective of a secondary realm of African and Cajun deities, cast out of their home and into our world where humans become their allies – and playthings. With House of Whispers #7, the story introduces one of the most iconic Sandman villains of all time – but also spends a little too much time on a particularly gross analogy that took me out of the story.
When we last left off, Mistress Erzulie and her allies had defeated the evil Shakpana and were sailing off for better quarters. They still have to deal with the aftermath of Shakpana’s living death curse, and the seemingly unstoppable trap that the trickster being was trapped in the last issue turns out to be not unbreakable at all – he’s out by midway through the issue.
Then there are the strange side segments, done in a painted style by guest artists layered over Stanton’s art. Set in an alternate universe where a mysterious ailment suddenly gives animals the expressive eyes of humans, it kicks off a divisive fight over whether they should still be eaten. First people fight over whether to go vegan, then people start eating the eyes as a special delicacy, and then it devolves into people killing other people to eat their eyes. What starts as a suspense story devolves into a full-on horror story.
It’s a bizarre, over-long digression that only makes sense once we realize the source of the nightmare – the Corinthian, or a new version of the iconic demon. His debut is genuinely creepy and ups the scales in this issue in a big way, tying it closer to the events of The Dreaming. It’s still an overstuffed comic that spends way too much time on exposition, and the new co-writer seems to be permanent now.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.