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House Of Penance #4

    Ian Jane

  • House Of Penance #4

    House Of Penance #4
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: July 20th, 2016.
    Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
    Illustrated by: Ian Bertram
    Purchase From Amazon

    The strange saga of the Winchester House continues with this forth issue of Peter J. Tomasi and Ian Bertram's House Of Penance from Dark Horse Comics, a series that is shaping up to be one of the best new comics of the year.

    Picking up where we last left off, Sarah Winchester and her sister, Mary Pardee, walk the grounds and discuss matters both personal and financial. All of Sarah's money, which comes from her majority stake in the Winchester Rifle Company, goes into the house, farming on the lands or to charity. Mary doesn't understand this. She sees things from the company's point of view, but Sarah wants nothing to do with the wholesale of weapons used for slaughter. She's haunted by the ghosts of those killed by the weapons that are made in the name of her late husband and her incessant building at the house is the only way she can keep those ghosts at bay. Mary feels her sister is suffering from depression caused from the loss of her husband and daughter, she offers to help her. Sarah would rather Mary leave on the next train back to Connecticut.

    Meanwhile, Peck seems to have been in a trance all night - whittling away at a piece of wood but not really remembering much about it. Later, he approaches Sarah's room and fills her in on how and why a shootout occurred when a birthday 'got out of hand.'

    Mary heads into town and notices an advertisement in the day's paper offering 'cash for guns' to the citizens of San Jose. Murcer tells her the idea is crazy, but the line up at the gate the next morning says otherwise. Sarah tells him 'this is war' and honors her end of the bargain, then sings a lullaby to her dead daughter as the day turns into night. Then she's visited by the ghosts of her late husband and daughter, they tell her they're drowning in blood… they've run out of time.

    The next day Sarah approaches peck about another dead cat found on her property with its throat slit… she knows he is 'awash in a tide of blood' even as their unusual connection seems to grow stronger.

    Tomasi's story continues to get stranger and more intense with each new issue. This is a very well written book, a story as rich in oddly compelling character development as it is in macabre symbolism and imagery. The more we get to know both Sarah and Peck, the more we realize that they have things in common - they're both damaged goods, both haunted by their pasts. It makes sense that they'd start to connect the way that they are, but how the scars of what they've both tried to leave behind will affect them clearly remains to be seen. This is hardly a storybook romance, at least not yet, but rather a case of two lost souls finding some semblance of comfort with one another. They have an understanding that very obviously the other characters in this story, least of all Mary, simply cannot grasp. At the same time, as what they have grows, we're made to see in no uncertain terms that their individual issues are still very much at the forefront of what is going on here. By the time you get to the last few pages of this fourth installment, things have gone from bizarre and macabre to dangerous and grotesque.

    Ian Bertram illustrates all of Tomasi's work in his own inimitable style. There's a ridiculous amount of detail in each and every panel of this book, and the coloring work form Dave Stewart matches this every step of the way. Even the lettering from Nate Piekos at Blambot has a distinct feel to it. Nothing else on the market right now looks like House Of Penance. Nothing else reads like it either. This is a fiercely original work, a genuinely frightening story that's as gripping as it is eerily gorgeous to look at.

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