In the first arc of Harrow County, Emmy discovered the terrible truth about her home, the people she loves, and her place in the legacy of the witch, Hester Beck. The second arc showed her coming to grips with her powers, and facing down a dark mirror of what she would become.
But Harrow County isn’t just Emmy’s story. The last few issues have been a little less focused on her, broadening the scale to add depth and develop other characters. Harrow County #12 brings Emmy back into the spotlight, but it’s more of a side story than anything that moves the plot forward.
Emmy always strives to use her powers, despite their dark origin, to help the people around her, and in this issue she travels to help a family struggling to live in a haunted house.
We get to see inside her head and the way her relationship has changed with people she’s known her whole life. They knew her as Emmy for eighteen years, and even though she might walk and talk like the same sweet girl, their perception of her will forever be tainted by the knowledge of her connection to Hester Beck. She does everything she can to prove her noble intentions, but it’s hard to shake a curse like that. The way people treat her, and how she feels responsible for the trouble in their lives, takes a toll.
Emmy’s brave, and she doesn’t hesitate to meet with the family and see what she can find out to help. Things quickly take a turn for the worse. The house reacts almost immediately to Emmy’s presence, erupting in chaos. The walls crack open to reveal the family’s antagonists, a horde of scheming skeleton children.
Hannah Christenson stands in for Tyler Crook on this issue’s art, and she does an admirable job of capturing the series’ eerie, southern gothic style. The first few pages open with the bright orange and yellow hues of the farmer’s fields. It feels safe and natural for the setting. But as soon as things go south, Christenson shifts to an eerie greenish-blue palette. The interior of the house is lit by these almost fluorescent colors, unnatural for the setting, and it helps illustrate how the haunting affects our hero.
Her style is definitely different from Crook’s, and I missed seeing the range of unique, terrifying haints depicted in previous issues. It still looks good though, and Christenson’s work with facial expressions is particularly impressive.
The story of the haunted house ends with an interesting twist, unsurprising considering Cullen Bunn’s skill for dreaming up eerie, unsettling creations. The last panel picks up a thread from the book’s second arc, and readers who’ve followed from the beginning will definitely feel a twinge of excitement to see what happens next.
For a story that didn’t do much to move the plot forward, it was entertaining, but not as substantial as the side stories in the last few issues. Harrow County #12 has a pretty narrow focus, and I found myself wishing for an appearance from anyone in the regular supporting cast. We get to see more of how Emmy’s handling the changes in her life, and how that affects her interactions with people, but not much in the way of character development that hasn’t already been covered.
It’s always nice to spend time in Harrow County’s creepy world, but I’m hoping the next issue picks up the pace again.
- More time with Emmy
- Varied artwork
- Creepy skeleton kids
- Little plot movement
- Narrow focus