Daphne Byrne #3 – Laura Marks, Joe Hill, Writers; Kelley Jones, Dan McDaid, Artists; Michelle Madsen, John Kalisz, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Daphne Byrne #3 continues the title’s pattern of being a slow-burn ghost story, immersing each of its lead characters in an increasingly eerie and moody story. Young Daphne has become enmeshed with a mysterious ghost or demon, taking the form of a charming young man luring her into his trap.
She gets in trouble with her mother for last issue’s fight, but her mother is too fixated on the sinister con-men claiming to contact her ex-husband, and simply sends Daphne to school and moves on. This odd boy who has taken up residence in Daphne’s head continues to manipulate her, claiming to show her the horrors that are attached to all of her cruel classmates, and encouraging her to lash out. She does, in dramatic fashion, and makes her social problems even worse. It seems clear that whatever this force is, it’s increasingly isolating Daphne and making her more dependent on it.
I think subtly, the other half of the story is even creepier as Daphne’s mother gets taken advantage of by people looking to exploit her grief and desperation. This title isn’t as in your face as some period pieces about the horrible ways women are treated in this time period, but segments such as Ms. Marks getting accosted by a cruel loan shark offering her unusual ways to pay off her debt are more chilling than any ghost in Daphne Byrne #3.
Laura Marks writes a strong story, but it’s definitely one that’s saving its big twists for the last arc, I think. Kelley Jones’ art is exceptional as always, but I’m not sure if he gets to do as much with it as normally. This probably qualifies less as a horror comic than any other member of the Hill House line, but that doesn’t stop it from being a compelling story of a young girl’s coming of age in a haunted town filled with dangers.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.