I picked up a copy of the Harrow County: Countless Haints trade paperback (2015) published by Dark Horse the other day after writer Cullen Bunn made an appearance at a local comic book store (Downtown Comics). Upon discovering a spooky forest plays an integral part in the story, and that it contained a variety of creepy monsters in it, I decided to give it a shot.
This volume collects the first 4 issues of the comic Harrow County where we are shown the origin of Emmy, a young girl living a peaceful life on her father’s farm. Unfortunately, she’s been experiencing terrible nightmares about the large tree in her yard which was once struck by lightning. In the dream the tree is transformed into a distorted, demonic beast that mutters disturbing things to her. She also sees the town’s villagers gathering around it in cult-like fashion.
Years before, a woman named Hester Beck was burned to death by the locals on charges of being a witch. She vows to return and exact vengeance upon them while her flesh is being seared away by fire while hanging from the tree. In present day, these same locals have become concerned Emmy might be the reincarnation of Hester, which makes them believe they have to kill her.
Emmy flees through the forest where she encounters burning skeletal ghosts, a vast smokey miniatour-like beast, a violent boneless boy and more as she struggles to come to terms with what’s happening to her.
This was a pretty quick read which kept my interest all the way through it. The artwork by Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D.) is evocotive and well-suited for this type of story. The monsters are interesting, especially the murmuring boy whose body is nothing but loose flesh, allowing Emmy to fold him up to carry in her satchel. Emmy’s a great character who’s easy to identify with as she tries to understand why her father and nearly everyone else in the town is suddenly trying to kill her. I definitely enjoyed this enough to seek out the next volume soon.
Article by Matt Cowan