House of Whispers #17 – Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Writers; Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Matthew Dow Smith, Artists; Zac Atkinson, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: This surreal journey into the darkest corners of the Sandman Universe continues to surprise with House of Whispers #17, an issue that once again splits the narrative between the “real world” and the world of the Dreaming.
Mistress Erzulie, off to chase down a way to rescue her late husband Agwe, has descended into the real of the mysterious House of Watchers, normally ruled over by the Endless Despair. But as we saw in previous issues, it has since been taken over by the sinister Corinthian – or so it seemed. The house may have actually done something horrible to the demon, splitting him into countless parts and forcing Erzulie to put one of her deadliest enemies back together. Combine that with an ongoing subplot involving Papa Midnite and Aesop having a smoke, summoning a spirit, and forming a pact, and it seems clear that the supernatural corner of this book will not be slacking off any time soon.
But the events that take place in the real world are no less compelling as the supernatural elements bleed over into ours. Over the last few issues we’ve seen a young abused girl nicknamed Poquito bond with a strange cat. That cat, only named “Cat-thing”, is no longer a cat at all and its presence seems to be transforming the girl into something other than human.
This story intersects with that of Rafe, a paraplegic trans man working as a mechanic who has tragic ties to the corrupt refugee home owned by Poquito’s adoptive mother. These plots converge into a tragic showdown as a powerful wraith seeking vengeance is unleashed on the world, and one player reaches their much-deserved end. The reveal of Cat-thing’s true identity shocks, but the plot veers in a lot of different directions. Maybe too many, but the visuals are stunning and every issue feels like going deeper down a rabbit hole.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.