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Review: House of Mystery #25

Reading this is like Halloween!

No Caption Provided
The archetypal hunter arrives at the House of Mystery with a sacred mission to collect hearts.

The Good

Well, this is a first (for comics at least). I've seen jam issues where multiple artists will trade pages of the same story, but this was the first I've seen multiple writers working with the same artist. The literary name for this kind of experiment is "exquisite corpse" but I've seen similar things like this referred to as Round Robins. Either way, the transitions are actually so smooth, you'd never guess this was a "cut up" piece if you didn't have the credit breaks to inform you.
The story itself was the same brand of literary fun you've come to expect from Vertigo at its best. I liked the flippant way that elements and characters from religion, mythology, psychology, literature and even other Vertigo books were dropped throughout in way that was evocative of both fairy tales and modern dramas. This issue was smart, it was clever and it was really appealing to so how its crazy tale of eating hearts and the hunter unfolded. Usually, comparing a comic to a play is a criticism, but it's a compliment here. This really felt like a good stage production, with the colorful ensemble of Cain, Fig, Abel and all their House of Mystery friends seeming like a great stage troupe.
Rossi's art certainly does a lot to keep this whole thing cohesive. I really liked his approach to rendering characters in a way that was stylized without being too warped. His art reminds me of Phil Hester's in a good way.

The Bad

There's not really much to complain about with this comic, either (this really has been a great week for comics).  I suppose I'd caution readers not to expect the same kind of blockbuster thrills they'd get from X-Men or Superman, here, but you already know that. Actually, I'd really implore anybody who doesn't normally read this kind of comic to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.

The Verdict - 4/5

Fun. This was just fun, that's what I'll say over and over again. I was smiling a lot while reading this issue of House of Mystery. There's more than a little ghoulish black humor here, so a note to the squeamish, but reading this it felt like Halloween. Again, I encourage anybody who hasn't been reading this title to pick it up, because this stand-alone issue is a great "jumping on point."