Review: House of Whispers #20
Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith and “Domo” Stanton
Colors: Zac Atkinson
Letters: AndWorld Design
Reviewed by: Tony Farina
The divine houseboat that is the House of Whispers has always obeyed Erzulie’s commands-but now it has begun its own journey, trapping Erzulie aboard with her ex-husbands…and sailing on a collision course with an entire fleet of ghostly slave ships bound for Guinée, the land of the dead!
The stars of House of Whispers #20 are Domo Stanton, Matthew Dow Smith and Zac Atkinson. This book is a bounty of visual joys. Even in the simple moments where people just sit and talk, the page is full of beauty. It is almost cinematic. I love each fold in the clothes. I love the way that a grimace, tells us everything we need to know about how that person is feeling. There is nothing like a group of artists who give comic readers’ eyes a big hug. Yep. imagine Domo, Matthew and Zac hugging your eyes. Have it? OK, now, look:
That top panel, without words tells a story that could go on for days. I love everything about it. Seriously, just look at the faces and the placement of all of those characters. Tell a story. It is beautiful.
House of Whispers #20 starts with some amazing characters whom we begin to care about, but why should we? Up until this point, no human character has spent more than a handful of issues in our sight before he or she dies or just goes away. There is too much going on in too few pages. The slow start is actually delightful, but it all spirals out of control once again.
There are some major happenings in the House of Watchers. Ananse is back, or never really left. Who knows what is up with Poquita. So many unanswered questions and yet, it is hard to care too much because the stakes in this book are low. The main character died and came back the next issue. It just doesn’t work. I love to look at this book each month, but I have such a hard time caring. I want to, I really do.
The problem with House of Whispers #20 is the same problem that has been going on for two years now. There is some stunning artwork, some amazing colors and visual storytelling, but it is always punctuated by wandering a bit aimlessly.