Wednesday, December 12, 2018

House of Whispers #4 Review and **SPOILERS**

Go Forth, and Fix This Shit

Written By: Nalo Hopkinson 
Illustrated By: Dominike “DOMO” Stanton and Aneke 
Colors By: John Rauch 
Letters By: Deron Bennett  
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: December 12, 2018


Now that Madame Ezrulie is…someone else, how’s that gonna affect things going forward? Also: what the heck is going on? Hopefully we get some more answers in House of Whispers #4, which I’ve conveniently reviewed right here!

Explain It!

Now that Madame Ezrulie—er, I mean Madame Dantor’s houseboat is finished, it’s time to get the ever-lovin’ heck out of the Dreaming, which is wreaking havoc on every member of her entourage’s emotional stability. Problem is: how to do that? Also wasn’t Abel working on the houseboat before? This time, the emergent “blanks” seems to have completed the labor…and one of them tells Ezrul…Dantor as much. Methinks there hasn’t been as much editorial communication in the Sandman Universe offices as you’d think, because normally, the “blanks” don’t speak. Perhaps these are some other conjurations? Regardless, somehow they figure out that all of this mess happened when Shakpana’s dream diary leaked out of the Dreaming’s library and into the real world. This is also why Latoya and Maggie are undead, and can make others undead as well. 
Speaking of Latoya and Maggie, what are they up to, after having whisked away the souls of so many down on Bourbon Street the night before. Oh, just chilling around, feeling numb. And really numb—not depressed, not apathetic, just numb to everything. Maggie asks Latoya not to touch any more living people, and Toya replies she might, she might not—she truly doesn’t have a feeling about it one way or another. In fact, while Maggie crashes at some friends’ pad, Latoya goes out gambling and partying—and separating people’s ghosts from their meat forms. And those ghosts, they’re piling up in the Dreaming, for some reason.
It’s a plague, and the only way to fix it is to retrieve that dream diary from the real world. Shakpana can get to the real world through the waters in the rift—the same water, I thought, that cured everyone of madness in the last issue. Well, now this agua is also a portal to the real world that only Shakpana can cruise, but at the expense of his sanity. Miss Turtle—that’s the pirate hat-wearing, Cheroot-chomping friend of Madame Ezr…Danton from last issue—she can also make it to the third dimension, but she can’t stay human for long. Also, it appears she is the human representation of an island, so good for her. Madame Danton can’t go because she doesn’t have enough of her followers’ juice. Well, Shakpana goes topside and gets all murderous, possesses some guy and heads over to Maggie and Latoya’s house to get his book back. And who would be there already, but Miss Turtle? What a showdown! Also, Danton’s husband, the one dressed like Napoleon, has also possessed a willing follower and is walking around New Orleans somewhere. 
It’s like everything we learned so far in this story was thrown into a blender and served back to us in a thick slurry. The changing nature of the “blanks,” and the water in the rift, the introduction of Miss Turtle two or three issues after she’s appeared…everything going on with Shakpana! It’s just too much, thrown together too haphazardly. I don’t understand why Shakpana and Miss Turtle can go back to the 3rd Dimension, but Madame Ezrulie can’t. I don’t understand why she’s Madame Danton now. There was also an implication that there’s a bunch of other people in her, as well. I’m all for using these mythological/religious characters, but this story assumes the reader knows too much about it or—even worse a crime—that the reader should be expected to research this information. This is a foolhardy thing to assume, and leads to lazy writing. As I’ve said before, I like a lot of the concepts in this book. I just wish I had more of a frame by way of explanation or reason that would help me understand them.

Bits and Pieces:

We find the cause behind Maggie and Latoya's walking undeadedness, and probably why the Dahomey Gang are stuck in the Dreaming, but there are so many concepts thrown at the reader in this issue, you might not catch this bit on the first read. This series appears to have a pacing problem, and perhaps an issue with continuity. The latter is difficult to discern when you're dealing with the Dreaming.


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