House of Mystery without THE House of Mystery?
That's right, this is the first issue of the series "House of Mystery" that doesn't even have the House of Mystery in it. Seeing as the comic began with a select few individuals who were trapped in the House and desperately trying to find a way out, I can safely say we've come a long way and to be honest I feel it's been for the better. This series has been improving steadily from the beginning in my opinion and it has now reached that point where there's so much going on that the story can be driven by a variety of different characters. In this particular issue there are four stories going on, and a fifth story within one of the stories (one of the things that hasn't changed about the book is someone still tells a story within the comic, sometimes an origin or sometimes, as in this case, just a good story).
Now the main narrative of the issue was obviously that of Fig, the main character of the book, as she has now left the House for an offer to join Queen Diana in the Summerlands. Unfortunately for Fig, as we learn in this issue, things were not as they seemed and it may be too late to take back her promises. Once again Fig is conflicted with trusting her heart or her mind, and once again her trust fails her...but an unexpected ally comes to her rescue. Personally, one thing I've always wondered about with Fig that has bothered me is why this is all happening to her, I always thought maybe I missed something but considering in this issue she said herself that she doesn't know what's going on I guess I'm up to par but from the conversations that took place I am hopeful answers will be coming 'round the corner!
Another plotline going on in the issue is that of Cress and Genevieve trying to bring Poet back after his suicide back in issue seventeen (one of my favorite covers depicts the tragedy). The Poet still seems to be nothing more then a drunken loser and at this point I only want him back for Cress' sake (even though I used to hate her character)...we'll see where this goes though.
And then of course there is our villains, the males of Fig's family...some pretty sick and cruel individuals we have here. Not the scariest villains out there but I think it's what makes them the best villains. There not the types I can cheer for and I like that, I'm not saying this is a superhero book (because it's not) but it's become a cliche in literature that there is no good guys or bad guys, just characters, in this book I don't feel that's the case and it's refreshing (although many of my favorite stories indeed have no definitive good guys or bad guys). Currently they have found a way back into the story and if my guess is correct, they will be bringing in an old friend to the story soon...definitely interested in that.
Finally, there was Tursig, the gay goblin. Recently he's come out of the shadows and is playing a larger role in the story but it's not a happy one...basically his nature has put him at odds with the warlord of his people and thus is putting the entire group at danger. I'm hoping the ending of this isn't the expected result but we'll see. What I did love about Tursig this issue was the goblin folk tale he told, "The Story About a Goblin Who Loved Babies and Also There is a Hunter In It". It has a twist ending! (You'll get the joke after you read it.) Besides it giving my cover artist of 2009 (Esao Andrews) a chance at the interior of the book he's been adorning with such beautiful covers, it's just a good, interesting story. Not tied to anything else in the book but very fun nonetheless.
Sorry if you thought the review was long but compared to the title of the issue it was nothing :P