Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Low, Low Woods #3 Review

Low Enough?

Writer: Carmen Maria Machado
Artist: Dani
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 19th, 2020

There are lots of mysterious things going on in the small mining town of Shutter-to-Think, and two teenage girls named El and Vee are getting dragged right into the middle of it when they wake up in a movie theater without any memories of what happened. After the two get into a fight in the last issue they go their separate ways for now, but strange events follow them both. To read my other reviews of the other issues in this series, use The Low, Low Woods label.

So apparently Shutter-to-Think has a resident witch, and Vee goes and pays her a visit. She looks like a child with weird hands with claws. Vee asks if the witch can help her remember what happened at the movie theater, but the witch tells her that forgetting is easy while remembering is not. So she gives Vee a potion that will make them forget that they forgot something. When Vee gets home her mother tells them they got a good offer from "the (mining) company" to buy their house and that she's thinking about selling it to them, to which Vee responds with "good".

Cut to El in Hungry Daughter State Park. She tells Pearl, her dog, that it's weird being there without Vee and breaking their pact but "I'm a piece of $#!+ and I want to be alone." and they start playing fetch until Pearl notices a sinkhole. Aaaand of course on of those skinless guys comes out and attacks them. It's pretty clear here though that he's trying to kill them and not looking for help. He even kicks Pearl after she bites him and she scurries off. He gives El one hell of a beating but she's able to toss him back into the sinkhole. She finds Pearl scared and curled up and hiding in the bushes but okay, and if you don't give off a little "aaawww" then you are heartless.

El is pretty beat up and she thinks to herself "I miss you, Vee", and across town, Vee is walking down the street and says "What?" as if she heard somebody say something. Then she sees that she's got a bloody lip. So are these two connected somehow now? What the hell is going on?

Vee goes to Jennifer's house and they make up after not speaking for however long it's been since the first issue. That issue ended with a cliffhanger of Vee waking up and seeing a huge portal looking thing in Jessica's stomach. So Jessica begins to explain what happened and brings her upstairs to meet her mother... who is on the floor of her bedroom with the same portal thing going on but basically melted to the floor, and she just looks broken. Eyes staring off into nothing. Pills and a dish full of cockroaches next to her.

I'll be honest, it made me cringe when I turned that page! Yes! Now we've got some horror! Vee runs downstairs and Jessica follows. Jessica tells Vee that this happened with her mother from time to time and that this portal thing is a "sinkhole", but then it became permanent and she hasn't left her room in years. So there are sinkholes across town and sinkholes in some of the women? Or are they actually the same thing? Again, what the hell is going on?

You'd think it wouldn't be a moment that would lead to sex, right? Wrong, I guess! They start making out on the couch and Jessica goes down on Vee. Meanwhile, El is at home on her bed listening to a mixtape on her Walkman, and it's pretty clear she's suddenly aware of something. The art right here is very well done because you see a mixtape where the actual tape is coming out of the cassette and going over four panels showing Jessica performing cunnilingus, El reaching into her pants, Vee's face, and El's face. Almost like not only are they connecting sexually but also they're sharing the music.

And then, upstairs, a hand reaches out of Jessica's mom's sinkhole.

Bits and Pieces

This issue introduces some new stuff that makes you wonder what the heck is going on even more than you were before. First, we meet a Shutter-to-Think's resident witch. Then with El being hurt and Vee getting a bleeding lip at the same time (and then what happens on the last page) they're now somehow physically connected? But there is an expansion on things we've seen before. The skinless man returns, for example. But the real WTF moment comes from Jessica with what we see happening to her mother, giving this book a real horror moment. Also, poor Pearl! I'm enjoying this mini even with all of its frustrations, and I really believe by the end it's all going to come together and be a much better read when read straight through.


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