Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #3 Review and **SPOILERS**

It’s Dark and Love is Forbidden

Writer: Sarah Vaughn 
Illustrator: Lan Medina 
Color Artist: José Villarubia 
Letterer: Janice Chiang 
Cover Artist: Stephanie Hans 
Cover Price: $5.99 
On Sale Date: February 8, 2016


We come to the conclusion of this six-part miniseries, told in three parts for some reason. Maybe they figured it wasn’t going to make it beyond three or four issues. It’s no secret that I’ve been kind of down on this title, but I believe that each new issue is another chance to engage the reader. The reader being, in this case, me. I do like a good horror yarn, and I think for this final issue I’m not going to make such a big stink about Deadman being an ancillary character throughout the story. He has been, and it’s annoyed me, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the tale is uniquely bad. What would mean that is a low score from yours truly! Does this issue get one? You’ll have to read my review of Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love Book 3 to find out! Or scroll to the bottom, that works too.

Explain It!

We pick up right where we left off the last issue, with Adelia having gone all vicious smoke monster on Berenice’s beau, Nathan while spectral chaos breaks out in the living room at Glencourt Manor. Or is that the sitting room? I’m not sure I know the difference. Berenice, of course, is in her ghost trance while her work husband Sam is positively freaking out. Now that’s just being a bad hostess. Deadman is able to snap Adelia out of her evil, and she poofs out of existence or whatever in shame. Nathan gets one of his trademark headaches and goes to lie down on a couch…so I guess this is the sitting room. While he snoozes, Berenice, Sam and Deadman sneak into Nathan’s super secret office that no one else is allowed to enter. Except, of course, Deadman could have entered at any time. In fact, he could have gone into the room, done some reconnaissance, and reported back to Berenice without her ever being in danger. But hey, what do I know about Deadman?
Adelia shows up inside the office, in her nice form but still concerned that she might hulk out. Nathan’s office, of course, looks like an arcane occultist’s library, and there’s no evidence of the book he’s been writing. Unless it’s a collection of evil spells written on Pegasus wings and bound in an imp’s flesh. Berenice starts thumbing through one of these obviously horrific books when Nathan shows up and slams it shut! They have a very low-key argument, as white couples do, when Adelia starts wigging out and Nathan pulls out a knife! He goes after Berenice and Sam, but inadvertently stabs himself in the stomach—but it turns out that his life is tied to Glencourt Manor, and as long as it stands he cannot die. And that’s when Adelia remembers!
If you’ve read the other issues in this series, you’ve probably figured out what’s going on by now. But to make it clear, Deadman jumps into Nathan’s body to find that he’s really Edward Ruskin, the guy that built Glencourt Manor and killed Adelia in it like a hundred and thirty years ago. He used some immortality spell that was tied to the Manor and killed his wife as part of the ritual, then had to keep leaving and returning under assumed identities, probably to pay the electric bill and check on the boiler. When Adelia remembers, she goes bananas on Nathan/Edward, and Deadman stays inside him—despite having to endure great physical pain, for some reason—so she can flay him to ribbons. Meanwhile, Berenice and Sam set the Manor on fire and Adelia creates an earthquake somehow, and everyone gets out just in time before Glencourt Manor is destroyed. Even Deadman, about whom I wasn’t concerned because he’s already a ghost. Nathan now out of the picture for good, Berenice and Sam can admit their feelings for each other, and it looks like they might go on to become traveling ghost busters or something? That will probably be nice.
So Deadman aside—and he should be put aside because this story really has fuck-all to do with Deadman—this is still a pretty lame, overblown horror story. I like the bit about Berenice’s fiancée having been an immortal wife-killer all along, which really was the only interesting part of the whole story. I’m not even sure why Sam was there, except to provide Berenice with a partner at the end. And something about a broken bowl glued back together. This thing could have been told in three 20-page issues and it probably still wouldn’t have been very good. The art remains uneven, but I have warmed up to it. I definitely see how the coloring in particular creates a certain mood. But this story is conceptually dull. Add some bland, talkative characters and you’ll wonder why anyone bothered.

Bits and Pieces:

This story took a little too long to come around the bend, and by the time we get to the conclusion it's a wonder we made the trip at all. Deadman is an afterthought in this series, but even on its own it's a fairly paltry horror tale. Sort of a mediocre romance tale. But that Dark Mansion! That's an architect's dream!


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