‘Harrow County #32:’ Advance Comic Book Review

How do you sum up an opus like Harrow County? It’s not simply a beautifully rendered horror story. It’s not just a hauntingly dark fairy tale. It’s not merely an emotionally ambitious coming-of-age story. For the last (almost) three years, Harrow County has been consistently one of the best comic books on the stand, but that’s also not all it is. Harrow County is an incredible work of fiction that Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook have brought to life in a way that defies the greatest of expectations. The hero of the story, Emmy, has become real to me; her struggles have been felt, her pains and losses have weighed on me, and I’ve desperately wanted her to make the right decisions.  Coming into this final issue, I had no idea what exactly she would do, but the final step of her journey has deeply affected me. Harrow County is sincerely one of the great accomplishments in comic books of this decade.

If you’re just running across this review and have no idea what Harrow County is, you need to find the first trade… now. It’s about a girl, Emmy, who is born from a tree that a witch was hung to death on. Now, Emmy has turned 18, suddenly her powers have blossomed, and the struggle to know what to do with those powers begins. Along the way, she deals with the denizens of Harrow County: a demented sister, spirits called Haints, a best friend who talks to snakes, a family of other powerful witches, and other extremely powerful beings. The series explores themes of family and power and how one handles and deals with those things. There have been moments that have brought chills to my spine, and others that have brought tears to my eyes.

And while Emmy is the hero we have followed all this way - the hero we are rooting for - the second hero is Tyler Crook. He has shown us an Emmy to grow with. He has shown Emmy grow into who she is now. He is a master of not just memorable imagery, but meaningful imagery. These last few issues have been one visual and visceral experience to the next, but it’s not just these past two issues, it’s every issue in this series. Tyler Crook’s adult fairy tale-style imagery has been one of the truest forms of experience there is, and Cullen Bunn knows when to let him take the steering wheel to brilliant effect. I’m going to miss this team.

Bunn is one of my favorite writers around, and while I’m already reading (and reviewing) other series of his (and look forward to even more), it will be hard to fill that gap that will be left with the final story of Emmy and Harrow County, but, boy, was it an absolute pleasure.

Creative Team: Cullen Bunn (writer), Tyler Crook (art, letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Brett Israel (assistant editor), Mike Richardson (publisher), Keith Wood (designer), Christianne Goudreau (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

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