It’s not every day that I get to read an introspective comic book that deals with a character experiencing their own personal hell. But leave it to Dark Horse Comics to give me exactly what I didn’t know I needed! Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, And The Bird is a shining example of why I keep coming back to them for unique stories and comics! Please, allow me to elaborate further.
Dancy Flammarion is dead. She knows it and we know it. But apparently death comes in varying degrees of
permanence, as it seems she is being tempted/threatened with life. And though she repeatedly declines, sometimes events can spiral out of our control. Much akin to her tenuous grasp on her sanity.
Additional storylines build to bring other players into the game, none of whom have Dancy’s best interests in mind. In fact, other than her girlfriend and an overly zealous, though pessimistic, bird, no one seems to want to help her at all. That includes the twins who seem to waver between hero worship and murderous intent! Though it must be mentioned that Dancy herself has a bit of a sociopathic streak. You know, with all that killing and such. But that’s all in the past, right? Right?
This hardcover collects all five issues of the mini-series for you to enjoy again and again! Scribe Caitlin R. Kiernan takes us on a journey both within and without. Exploring death and the afterlife/purgatory/hell/what-have-you, she pulls the reader back and forth in order to disorient and befuddle. What we get is a tale that transcends normal comics. Though it does take a more pragmatic approach periodically, it is my belief that she does this to create a baseline of sorts for the reader. Regardless, it is beautifully written, in the most macabre of ways. Balancing this prose is the alluring artwork of Daniel Warren Johnson. His drawings reflect the needs of the panel, playing heavily to the pages that have little dialogue and embracing minimalism when the story has little need for art. This exquisite balance is maintained throughout the comic, enabling the reader to fully immerse themselves.
Trust me when I say you’ll want to read this, though you’ll want to steer minors away from it. Gratuitous violence, sexual encounters, and profanity make this an adult-only purchase. In the spirit of engaging you with this comic, I would say that it’s sort of Neil Gaiman meets Chuck Palahniuk. I hate to compare it to anything since it’s compelling all on its own. But I do want to make sure I’m crystal clear on how spectacular I found it. So there you go, my review and my recommendation to buy it. What else could you want?