[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Nalo Hopkinson
Artist: Dominike “DOMO” Stanton
Colors: John Ravuch
Letters: Deron Bennett
The VooDoo diety, Erzulie and her houseboat have been ripped from the dreaming and have been plopped down in Cain and Able’s neighborhood. Daniel was not notified a God would be dropping in so Cain and Able are nervous. Uncle Monday is hungry. Erzulie’s mirror is broken. Her magic doors are broken. In general, things are not great.
Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, Erzulie’s followers are trying to get back to her underworld party boat, but, of course, they can’t. Bad news is followed by worse news when her husbands show up looking for her. They are not super pleased by the state of events.
We also learn that LaToya has fallen into a coma ever since Erzulie disappeared. There is a dramatic escape attempt, there is another boat crash, people eat live chickens and LaToya comes out of her coma only to discover she is dead. Confused? Welcome to the House of Whispers
Once again, Domo is a rock star. The Dreaming is a strange place. I love to see how each artist interprets it. Domo has a nightmare quality that I think is sometimes missing. John Ravuch’s colors go above and beyond as well. There is this purple that hangs on the world like a blanket. It holds everything down. Sleep is a powerful beast and this creative team goes out of its way to show just how powerful it is. Simple things like a bent tree, or a distant skyline feel unreal and frightening.
Hopkinson’s dialogue skills are on point. If you have never been to New Orleans, you can sure feel like you are there. The language drips off the page. It doesn’t seem forced at all. When she has Cain and Able talk to Erzulie, the contrast is so clear and it makes everything else even more authentic.
As you could see from the summary, there may just be too much going on right now. There are some assumptions the readers need to make right now and I worry that not all the readers are going to be patient enough to get there. What is happening with LaToya and her family is pretty interesting, but we don’t get to spend enough time there as we are busy moving back and forth between the plots. While it was cool to see the worshipers try to save their beloved Queen, that really got in the way of the readers caring about the characters with whom most of them can relate.
Again, this is just beginning and I feel that even though this is only book two, it is really still chapter one. There is a lot to like and there is a lot to wish for. Even if you are confused by the story right now, buy this book just to look at the art. It is so, so good.