Well, hello there. Welcome to what I think is perhaps the best Dark Horse comic I have ever read. House of Penance #1 grabs you by the throat like a Bengal tiger, not allowing for any escape. Captivating from the start and twisting its way through the first issue, the story is part fact and part fiction but always riveting. Read on to learn more!
If you have never heard of The Winchester Mystery House then you might be a slight disadvantage in the short term but the overbearingly creepy vibes and haunting plot will soon bring you up to speed. Suffice to say that this comic portrays the widowed Winchester matron in the perfect way in order to further the story. Her elusiveness and eccentric ways are considered, most of the time, as personal oddities but her actions seem to call into question her well-being and mental stability. For you see, Sarah Winchester is haunted by the death of her husband and child. Not to mention she is plagued by the fear that everyone killed by her husband’s rifles are also out to torment her.
In order to stave off the spirits, though, she has commissioned contractors to build rooms, doors, staircases, you name it. Thing is, many lead nowhere at all. In an effort to confuse the ghosts, she also sleeps in a different room every night. Needless to say, the workers are bewildered and even a little afraid her. Taking in a multitude of vagabonds and homeless workers, she has some particular rules that seem odd considering who she is. Things take a particular turn for the strange when we see an extremely dangerous stranger arrive at the mansion. What evil follows him and why did he turn up there of all places? Only reading the series will answer these questions for you.
Scripting this amazing work is Peter J. Tomasi, known for his work with DC Comics. This is much darker than what you might recognize from him, however. I would say, without a doubt, that it is his best work to date. Ian Bertram and Dave Stewart make up the artistic team and they manage to convey that every dark corner, every shadow has something to hide. It’s a spectacular feat of teamwork that enables the art to perfectly compliment the prose in such a way that the reader feels pulled into the comic and suspends all disbelief for the twenty-odd pages.
I urge you…nay, I plead with you, to read this. Go now to your nearest comic or book shop and find this premiere issue. Historically grounded but definitely well-doused in the supernatural, this series will be far more than you bargained for. And like me, you’ll find yourself anxious for the next installment, the next fix, if you will. I’ve said all I can without revealing too much, but know this: this will be more than a story about a widow and her sanity, this will be one tale that keeps you up at night.