Cullen Bunn and Jack T. Cole’s magical mystery tour continues in THE UNSOUND #3. Ashli, the other staff members and unafflicted patients follow the mysterious Xerxes through the gates and into the underworld of St. Cascia Hospital. Xerxes leads them through an Escher-like labyrinth of corridors and staircases, surrounded by bizarre artwork and architecture.
He explains that they all have to keep wearing the paper plate masks he’s provided them, for fear of being lost forever. Is this a subtle metaphor for the fear of losing one’s identity when institutionalized, or is this reality? Xerxes also says they must all trust him implicitly. A madman in a mask doesn’t seem like a trustworthy guide through a mental institution to me, but when the inmates are running the asylum and the ceiling occasionally showers down razor blades…I guess he’s the lesser of two evils…
One of the keys to quality suspense filled horror tales is a balance of pacing and giving the audience more information than the characters have. Writer Cullen Bunn has used these techniques superbly in the preceding chapters of this series and now that we’re ‘through the looking glass’ he really ratchets the tension up to eleven. Giving any further plot details
would spoil the effect, but suffice to say there are a number of scenes that will set your flesh crawling.
Bunn’s tale is masterfully visualized by artist Jack T. Cole. Like auteurs Dario Argento and Clive Barker, Cole gives us sights that are both horrific and beautiful, often simultaneously. His skills showed us glimpses of the madness that encapsulates the St. Cascia Hospital so far, but in this issue the gloves are off as the cast descends further into the asylum’s uncharted territory. Territory that’s been claimed and developed over the years by the inmates.
But we’re still far from the ending of this tale and there are still mysteries yet unsolved. Who are the suited men in masks? Who is The Prince and where is he? What events from her past does Ashli still need to reconcile?
I’ll be over here in the corner quivering with fear and anticipation until next month.
THE UNSOUND #3 – BOOM! STUDIOS
STORY- CULLEN BUNN
ART- JACK T. COLE
Review by J.P. Harvey