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House Of Penance #5

    Ian Jane

  • House Of Penance #5

    House Of Penance #5
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: August 17th, 2016.
    Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
    Illustrated by: Ian Bertram
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    The strange saga of the Winchester House continues with this fifth issue of Peter J. Tomasi and Ian Bertram's House Of Penance from Dark Horse Comics. Continuing from where we last left off, this issue opens up with a scene where Sarah Winchester answers the door at her massive estate. Thomas, the President of Winchester Arms, and Mary, her sister, have shown up to help. Mary knows that something is amiss in the house, but conveniently forgot to tell her sister that she and Thomas were wed. Men in white coats show up and drag Sarah, literally kicking and screaming, off the property. The men in Sarah's employ protest and Sarah sees the eyes of the statues on the property weep blood.

    Peck grabs a rifle and opens fire, wounding the two white coats and threatening to drop Mary first if they don't release Sarah immediately. Mary, Thomas and the men in the white coats leave, post haste. Sarah, however, is furious with Peck not because he saved her from being institutionalized but because he broke into the gun room and drew blood on the property. She doesn't send him out, however - she shows mercy and tells him he can stay if he works ten shifts in a row.

    Later on in the furnace room, Sarah hands peck a rifle to use not as a weapon but to stir the boiling pot. As he does this, he sees the faces of those he put down and as he sees them appear to him he tells Sarah of his time 'in the tree.' He worked as a sniper, he was good at it, how he served his government under the guise of 'manifest destiny.' It was all a ruse, he killed natives, he killed homesteaders, he killed children and he kept taking money to do it. Sarah takes him outside, he calms down. The next morning she follows her dog, Zip, to a barn on the property to find Duffy dead, hanged by his own hand, a suicide note apologizing to Sarah for killing man and animal alike on her property.

    Sarah still sees everyone drowning in a sea of blood, even her late daughter, she sees this in a horrible nightmare, one of many it seems that she has in recent times. When morning comes, Sarah tells Peck how her daughter and husband die, how this made her start to care about 'blood money' and how she consulted a medium who told her that the souls of those killed by the firearms made by her family were going to send the souls of her family to purgatory until she made it right. And so she moved west to build this massive house to appease the dead. But the workers, they're riled up - a lot has been happening on the property and when tensions run high amongst men like this, it can only end in more violence.

    There's a Lord Of The Flies vibe running through this issue. The men are isolated to an extent and as things around them go from bad to worse, a bit of a pack mentality arises. It's an interesting and entirely appropriate direction for Tomasi to steer the story in and it also results in an issue that's more disturbing, violent and surreal than we've seen from the series so far. At the same time, we learn more about Sarah's background, about her issues and about why she insists on having the house be under endless construction. This all ties into Peck's past in a way, we see that he suffers from similar guilt in the scene that takes place in the furnace room. It binds the two characters together in a way that gives them a unique relationship. It also stands to reason that we haven't seen the last of Mary and Thomas. They were sent running with their tails between their legs but we all know they'll be back.

    Ian Bertram's artwork continues to be the perfect complement to Tomasi's writing. There's so much detail in every panel that it's easy to get lost in it, but when it comes to depicting the horrors of what the characters experience, nothing is held back. Dave Stewart's coloring work accentuates this in a big way, especially in how heavily the book uses the color red. House Of Penance continues to impress, month after month. This is definitely one of the most unique and engrossing books on the stands right now.

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