I had to look up if I reviewed the first issue of this series or not. Good thing I did because it’s one of the best second issues I’ve reviewed this week. Go ahead and click on my profile at the bottom to see the others I reviewed because there were so many second and third issue disappointments this week that frankly I needed something to lift me up. What’s really enjoyable about Harrow County is that it’s Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook coming together at their best. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of everything Bunn writes, but when he’s one, he’s fucking on. Crook has never been off in my book, but he just continues to get better and better. Seeing him grow since his industry debut has been a pleasure and he’s one of the few artists that I actually follow their body of work. Together, they’ve managed to produce one of the best new series from Dark Horse which is good. Dark Horse needs a win after several promising series received the chop recently.
Harrow County #2 picks up shortly after Emmy’s encounter with the living skin. We learn that she’s aware of what the skin is as she calls it a Haint. She takes the squirming skin home and you have to remember she’s gotten a huge gash on her cheek and hands from following the Haint. Once she’s home she knows she needs to get changed and cleaned up before her father sees her. She hides the hollow skin in her draw and gets changed just before her father arrives. During this though she manages to heal and as she begins making excuses for cuts that aren’t there she stops herself. Which of course tips off her father because she's healed.
Later that night she has a dream and it’s pretty clear to us as the reader that this is her origin story. She was birthed from the tree, but there was a dead woman in there as well… curious. She wakes up suddenly and the skin in the drawer begins shaking the drawer open. She goes over to the Haint and it talks to her, telling her to go to the window. There she sees a group of people and the Haint tells her what their saying because the rest of him is hiding in the trees, skinless, spying on them. They’ve decided to kill Emmy, which she is none too thrilled about.
This series thankfully isn’t wasting time getting to the pop. The pop being that Emmy is either the witch reborn or the daughter of the witch at the very least. Cullen Bunn controls the atmosphere of the story very well. There is this overall creepy vibe to the story that continues from the first issue. I mean I don’t know if I could carry a living skin home with me, that’s a bit much, but Emmy does it and it’s kind of telling of her. Bunn does a wonderful job building her character in a way that makes her a mystery still. We know she’s brave and has a good heart, but we don’t know how she’ll handle this betrayal.
Tyler Crook of course nails the artwork. In particular, the dream sequence stood out to me as it was a very different approach, but it worked incredibly well to convey the story and place the reader in the dream. I also really liked the Haint and the sequence at the end of the comic. Bunn and Crook find interesting ways to end the issue. They’re not exactly dangerous cliffhangers, but they definitely make you curious as to what’s going to happen next and server to bring you back to the comic.
Obviously you need to like horror and not slasher horror, but creepy, scary horror. Harrow County is that type of horror. It rattles you to your core and makes you cautious the next time something hits your window in the middle of the night. That kind of horror is great because it messes with your mind more than anything and once you can do that the series can really start messing with you. If this sounds like something you’d like to check out then grab the first issue and get caught up.