Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 5/13/2015
Dark Horse Comics has brought us yet another incredibly horrifying series in the form of Harrow County. The first issue was released in June, 2015, and proved to be an intriguing beginning to what I hope to be a terrifying adventure. Harrow County begins with the death of a local witch, Hester, who balanced her healing with sacrifice. Fast forward a bit, and we meet a young woman coming of age and living with only her father on a secluded farm. At almost 18 years of age, Emmy has been having nightmares about the tree Hester was hung and burned on, but she does not know about Hester, only that the gnarled old tree haunts her. A dying newborn calf is mysteriously brought back to health, then a cryptic conversation occurs between Emmy’s Pa and a man named Riah which eludes to a connection between Hester and Emmy. Emmy wandered into the forest behind what she thinks is the lightning struck gnarled tree, where she is lured into a thorn thicket by a young boy. She climbs through only to find the skin of the boy stuck in the thorns and surrounded by blood.
This first issue provides slow but steady buildup with just enough answers to keep the reader enthralled but also not give too much too soon. There are many avenues opened for exploration, and many questions to answer along the way. The story has potential to delve into the dark crevices of the unknown, witchcraft, and of mankind itself. The characters seem to be well developed, or rather on the path to being full characters. The foundation is set. Cullen Bunn has fantastic way with words. He has a talent for creating the right atmosphere needed to create a horror story, through words alone. Add to that the artwork of Tyler Crook, with the gritty and raw images, and you have a recipe for a classic horror series. The watercolor technique mutes the details, yet adds tremendously to the emotions and setting of the story. It lends itself perfectly to the agony, death, mystery, and the hard farm life of Harrow County. The first issue ended, and I’m counting down the days until I’m able to read the second issue.