Review: The Storyteller Ghosts #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Story: Michael Walsh
Artist: Michael Walsh
Letters: Jim Campbell
Spot Illustration: Sonny Liew
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
This review for Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Ghosts #3 is a haunting tale from writer and artist Michael Walsh. Walsh brought together two legendary teams when he wrote Black Hammer/Justice League. This time he presents a tale drawn from an Irish myth once told around the fires and at bedtime. When a young boy stumbles across a banshee in the woods he remembers the legend which says that you will be marked for death if the creature sees you. However, a person will receive a wish if they can capture her. The danger is always choosing the right wish.
A consistent host to tell the story each and every episode or issue of a series sets an important tone. It worked for Tales from the Crypt and it worked for Reading Rainbow. In the case of Storyteller, the old man and his talking dog are a pleasant introduction to our story. They are awoken by a distinctive howl outside. The old man remembers a story and the dog pretends to be annoyed. Few things are sweeter than a voice accustomed to telling a story.
Music is a savage tool in the hands of evil. Songs break down the resolve of the strong and tempt the weak to commit grave errors. In this case, a young boy is lulled to a window, and then the woods by a lullaby that his mother would sing when she was still alive. He knows he should be afraid, and that a banshee will punish him.
But the chance to ask a question is a powerful urge. The reward of a wish is too great to let pass. The only thing required is the will to stand and ask.
Because this is an old tale the warning signs are evident and often. Father works in the mines and will be gone for weeks. The opportunity to seek banshee’s offer comes right after the father’s departure. Oh, and the boy’s grandmother is coughing splatters of blood into her palm.
What else can go wrong? There is plenty to see and discover with every page and panel. Eventually, the only thing left is the terror that will haunt the reader and the listener.
The ending is ambiguous. It’s also sad and lonely. Which is often the result at the end of a ghost story. The well-placed foreshadowing meets the bar of all great writing by letting the reader imagine what will most likely happen. The transition from that moment to The Storyteller is abrupt. The reader must either linger and consider what is known or move on.
Telling an old tale is a challenge in and of itself. Telling a tale as old as tales have been told can be even more daunting. Walsh meets the challenge by highlighting the elements that speak to the heart of any reader. The reach extends from family bonds to the timeless challenge of one day facing the world alone.
Pacing and patience allowed this story to breathe long enough that the reader may feel a sense of longing for more at the end. If it was good enough for P.T. Barnum then let the reader determine if it is also good enough for them. A satisfied reader is the best argument for doing anything.