The sixth book in the series House of Penance was a pretty strange place to jump in. I knew the story was about the famous Winchester House, and the owner, Sarah. Other than that, nothing much else was floating around in my head about this story that I could grasp at, so reading it turned out to be quite a journey.
The writing style of Peter Tomasi is sparse, and lets your imagination and emotions do a lot of the storytelling. This is a method that can go incredibly wrong, but in this book, it was nothing but net, and cupcakes. You know, because cupcakes are awesome. I really liked it, even though I had absolutely no idea what was going on pretty much the entire time. I did cast glimpses of the story and most likely what was previously happening, but it made me want to read the entire series to not only see if I was right, but just because I am intrigued. It’s macabre without being drenched in cheap spooky theatrics, and is definitely a cold story with a twist.
Ian Bertram, you talented devil, you. The art in this story at once reminded me of Edward Gorey, one of my personal favorite artists and storytellers. The usage of seemingly ballpoint pen lines and painstaking detail to the faces of the characters is simply amazing. It’s different than anything I’ve seen on shelves in a while, and I absolutely love it. Paired with Dave Stewart’s mainly black, white, and red color palette, it cuts a distinctive mark in the comic world of today. Very much an ageless piece of artwork, I can think of no illustrations and colors that would suit this story better, and it really is something I need to own for my personal collection.
Like I said above, I really had no idea what was going on, but I loved it. Sometimes less is more, and the ability to edit and take away only made this book better. It easily casts an eerie yet warm emotion over the reader, and all parties who worked on this book should be incredibly proud of themselves. In a phrase, we need more books like this.
Story: 5 stars
Artwork: 5 stars
Colors: 5 stars
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Ian Bertram