House of Whispers #14 – Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Writers; Matthew Dow Smith, Artist; Zac Atkinson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The second half of Matthew Dow Smith’s bridge arc following the first year of this supernatural thriller continues its compelling mix of fantasy suspense and gritty real-world tale in House of Whispers #14.
The story of an ordinary woman dealing with an abusive husband who finds a mysterious chicken-like creature in her house is interspliced with the mourning of Madame Erzulie and her husband over the death of Agwe. As our POV character becomes more enmeshed with the pair of old Gods, the creature wanders the streets and grows, winding up taking up residence in the hot dog cart of an old vendor who is frequently targeted by local punks. When they get violent with him and threaten his livelihood and his life, the chicken emerges and becomes a very odd hero.
Fire-breathing chicken, guardian of the people? That’s the kind of thing that seems absurd but is just commonplace in this fascinating title.
However, the main appeal of House of Whispers #14 is Djuna’s story. This woman was introduced to us trying to put together a meal for her husband, who has been stealing money from her and gaslighting her when she questions him. The domestic scenes are nicely creepy, and watching Djuna as she makes her way through life while trying to hold it together is poignant.
The chicken’s growth parallels her own growth and increased courage, until she’s able to get the fortitude together to shut down her husband and make a clean break. The end of the issue has her becoming a new partner to Erzulie, which seems to come on a little fast, but I’m hoping this means she becomes a regular in this title. This was a breather between the many battles of gods and monsters in the past arc, but it was an enjoyable one that furthered the series’ mythology.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.