Wednesday, April 10, 2019

House of Whispers #8 Review


What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

Written By: Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters
Illustrated By: Dominike “DOMO” Stanton
Colors By: John Rauch
Additional Finishes By: Isaac Goodhart, Amancay Nahuelpan and Aneke
Letters By: AndWorld Design
Cover By: Sean Andrew Murray
Edited By: Molly Mahan
Associate Editor: Amedeo Turturro
Assistant Editor: Maggie Howell
Executive Editor: Mark Doyle
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: April 10, 2018

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**

If you’re deathly afraid of spiders, this issue is probably not for you. Now have a look at my review of House of Whispers #8, right here!


Explain It!

Go check out the solicit for this issue. It says some stuff about Maggie and Latoya teaming up with Shakpana against Madame Ezrulie. Well, that’s not what happens in this comic book. Instead, we get the explanations we have so desperately craved for seven issues. It begins with Shakpana and that jailed murderer he possessed, Hector. There was a spectacular jail break [OFF-PANEL], and now they’re holed up in an antebellum mansion once owned by a cruel slavemaster named Madame LaLaurie. The ghosts of all the tortured slaves, who tell us of the cruel treatment they experienced, are being captured in bottles, per Shakpana’s suggestion, because they’re so damned noisy. Despite Shakpana taking delight in all the misery surrounding him, he’s bored and wants Hector to do something fun…aren’t you in possession of him, ‘Pana? Just make him do something wild.
Speaking of something wild, Ezrulie, Uncle Monday, the souls of LaToya and Maggie, and the Corinthian are sailing on a boat made of Ezrulie’s husband, Agwe, to find Ananse, the ancient spider that collects stories in the strands of his web and consumes them. Ezrulie hopes that Ananse can untangle her husband from the boat form he now possesses, and turn him back into the Napoleon cosplayer we knew him as, but Ananse is reluctant. He says Ezrulie has a far better story ahead of her, with many trials and tribulations. So Ezrulie comes up with another deal.
Meanwhile, back at Madame LaLaurie’s place, Shakapana decides to screw with Hector by making him swallow his own soul. Suddenly, Hector is wracked with remorse, which pleases Shakpana, but—I guess being that he’s possessed Hector’s body—he then realizes the crimes he’s committed, by turning a fake disease real and sowing discontent around the world. He decides to send everyone’s soul back to their bodies, though Maggie and Toya’s get caught on Ananse’s web while leaving (Ananse lets them go, though; he eats stories, not ghosts.) The ghosts captured in bottles tell Hector/Shakpana that they know how penance can be paid, then lead them to the attic of the home where they’ve captured Madame LaLaurie. Usually, they torture her, but just this once, the ghosts allow her to ply her cruelty on Hector, and ergo Shakpana. Back at Ananse’s, Madame Ezrulie says that her boat—her House of Whispers—is full of stores, perhaps more than Ananse’s. So they’ll have a story battle, and if Ezrulie wins, Ananse will help her. But if she loses—it’s curtains for her! And probably the House of Dahomey, whatever that is!
It is so nice to read an issue of House of Whispers and be able to clearly tell what is going on. Of course, some of that is due to the knowledge already accumulated, but this is the first time characters have explained what they’re doing and why they’re doing it in several issues. I liked a. lot of the trappings, and Shakpana’s interactions with Hector are cool, even if his moment of realization was awfully convenient. In fact, my main problem with this issue is that we’ve been following this worldwide plague for eight issues, and then it just sort of…ends. Madame Ezrulie isn’t even interested in it anymore, she just wants to get her husband freed from the boat. It was pretty unsatisfying for having read so many issues, and there are some panels that look positively distended—I assume due to the style of a particular finisher (there are three on this issue.) Though this issue was the best in a while, I am still pretty down on this series because it cost $32 to get to this point. Maybe going forward, we’ll get more clear, concise stories.

Bits and Pieces:

Ending one story and beginning another story…about stories, this issue is the most concise and well-told in a few months. It comes a bit too late, however, being that it cost $32 to get here. But there’s hope for better stories to come, if they are explained like this one.

7/10

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