Wednesday, October 25, 2017

DC House of Horror #1 Review & Spoilers

The Houses of Secrets and Mystery are Closed for the Duration

Plotted By: Keith Giffen 
Writers, Artists, Colorists and Letterers: See below for individual story credits 
Cover By: Michael Wm. Kaluta with Lovern Kindzierski 
Cover Price: $9.99 
On Sale Date: October 25, 2017


Something regular Reggie readers (I call ‘em “Reggie’s Regulars!”) know is that I am big fan of horror comics. Readers of horror comics know that maybe five percent of them have ever been actually scary. It’s more the conceit, I think, of something spooky being laid out in panels that tickles my scary bone. That’s the one just to the left of the funny bone. So I can’t judge this anthology on the basis of how scary it is, but I will judge it on a bunch of other arbitrary traits! Since it’s an anthology, I’ll give a score for each story in the book, and the average ‘em up for a big ol’ phony score at the end that should satisfy ComicBookRoundUp’s requirements. Got it? Let’s sink our teeth into my review of DC House of Horror #1, and don’t forget your FRIGHT-time snack!

Explain It!

“Bump in the Night”
Script: Edward Lee
Art: Howard Porter
Color: Hi-Fi
Lettering: Rob Leigh

This story answers the never-asked question: “What if baby Kal-El was a savage killing machine upon his crash-landing? And plus was more like six or seven years old? And already had his uniform and cape somehow?” The answer is that he would kill the Kents, and it ain’t pretty. I mean, the art is good, but the way Martha Kent gets it is especially brutal. Some nice tension-building to a payoff that wasn’t really great.

“Man’s World”
Script: Mary Sangiovanni
Art: Bilquis Evely
Colors: Mat Lopes
Letters: Taylor Esposito

While playing with a Ouija board with some friends, angsty teen Jay is possessed by the spirit of Wonder Woman, which makes her go on a murderous rampage in this instance. There’s a narrative about the goddess of man-killing, but she seems to dole it out to dude and lady alike, and with extreme savagery. Eventually she comes upon her abusive fatso dad, and Jay tears him apart as well. This would normally signify some kind of character redemption, but a last look in the mirror shows she’s still got the Evil Wonder Woman juice, so her rampage will continue. This was a decent little horror story, buoyed by the art talents of Bilquis Evely. I would rip my own heart out of its chest for more!


“Crazy For You”
Script: Bryan Smith & Brian Keene
Art: Kyle Baker

This story is more an homage to a certain comics style than it is a true horror story, though I suppose it does have a twist ending like those old EC Comics horror titles would have. A team is tasked with demolishing Arkham Asylum, and one of the construction guys bumps into Harley Quinn’s ghost while surveying the place. She then haunts him and causes him to go on blackout murder binges, one of which eliminates his wife, Linda. The story ends with this guy driven crazy by an ever-present Harley Quinn, which is pretty likely considering her grating New Yawk accent. I really dug the Leroy lettering and overall look of this story, but the story was a non-starter.


“Last Laugh”
Script By: Nick Cutter
Art By: Rags Morales
Colors By: Lovern Kindzierski
Letters By: Wes Abbott

Bruce Wayne comes to grips with the fact that he’s secretly been the Joker, in a “Jeckyll and Hyde” sort of relationship, so he kills himself. Not a bad course of action, considering the damage done. This reads like an examination of Batman’s inner character, but it’s not anything we haven’t seen before.


“Blackest Day”
Script: Brian Keene
Art: Scott Kolins
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Josh Reed

There’s a zombie outbreak on Earth, and the Flash has brought it to the Justice League satellite. He infects Batman and Martian Manhunter, but is only able to bite off Hal Jordan’s ring finger, ring and all. Hal tears the Flash zombie apart to get it back, and then tries to save humanity as his own zombie state emerges. The final line of this story is the best, and the whole yarn is fairly good. Interesting take on the zombie outbreak, keeping it contained (for this story) instead of showing hordes. It’s an interesting take in this day and age, anyway.


“Stray Arrow”
Script: Ronald Malfi
Art: Dale Eaglesham
Color: Jordan Boyd
Lettering: Pat Brosseau

A serial killer using arrows stalks the streets of Seattle, and Green Arrow is out to fight arrows…with arrows. Along the way, he rescues Dinah Lance from a raping or something so he keeps her in a cage? And then it looks like he might be the serial killer? But then Dinah kills him and gets out of her cage, blows up Green Arrows lair, and then looks to be the serial killer herself. I think? This one left me kind of confused.


Script: Wrath James White
Art: Tom Raney
Colorist: Gina Going-Raney
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

My comp had a problem where the captions were all see-through outlines, and therefore unreadable. But from what I can tell, this story is about District Attorney Harvey Dent being an actual serial killer that cuts people’s skin off, and thereby has two faces before he ever actually is Two-Face. Also, there’s a giant praying mantis terrorizing Gotham, and at one point it sprays acid at Harvey that turns him into Two-Face. So that’s nice.

“The Possession of Billy Batson"
Script: Weston Ochse
Art: Howard V. Chaykin
Color: Will Quintana
Letters: Ken Bruzenak

Billy Batson is a badass. He’s got a leather motorcycle jacket, an earring in one ear, and an attitude that could wither a rosebush. Worse yet, he’s been cursed with some nagging power, a dervish of murder that threatens everyone he knows—if he says the secret word—which is why he has to break up with his girlfriend. She doesn’t take it well, but Billy’s got other problems to deal with. This word, keeps gnawing at him, pressuring him to be spoken aloud so he can unleash carnage on the world. This story might be the best of the lot, and the ending is especially good from a spookiness standpoint. So I’m not gonna reveal it!

Some decent little thrillers, some more thrilling than others, none that are particularly scary. But as mentioned, actually scary comics are a very rare find. This one is probably too expensive for what you get, but there is a lot in there. Not a horrible Halloween purchase for your favorite superhero-lovin’ urchin.

Bits and Pieces:

This score constitutes an average of the scores from each story in this anthology, but overall I’d say this is a worthwhile purchase for your favorite junior high schooler that bends towards horror or superheroes. Or both.



  1. I would have to respectfully disagree. Every story here was garbage with the exception of the Batman and Harley Quinn ones. I guess I really liked the psychological aspects applied to these stories. When this was announced my initial reaction the the inclusion of a Harley Quinn story was "Are you fucking kidding me? Stop putting her in literally everything." I was pleasantly surprised. The Batman story was just a fun interesting but predictable ride for me.

  2. "When this was announced my initial reaction the the inclusion of a Harley Quinn story was "Are you fucking kidding me? Stop putting her in literally everything."" Well, it kind of makes sense to an extent. I mean, she really is the closest thing DC has to Deadpool.