By Phillip Sevy, Drew Zucker, Jen Hickman, and Frank Cvetkovic
The suspense is building and the creepiness is real in The House #2. This horror comic keeps you guessing at all the right moments with the right blend of blood and scares to keep it appealing to a wider comic audience outside of just its genre. The main character of this book is the titular House; it is riddled with many mysteries to unfold and powers yet to be understood. The people who enter it seem to be irrelevant; they serve the purpose of advancing the reader’s understanding of The House. However, while the book spends a lot of time building the knowledge and understanding of The House, it does ignore developing or even differentiating the people who fall victim to it.
This book is co-created by writer Sevy and artist Zucker, and it started as an idea between friends about a World War II horror comic. This kernel of an idea has now officially turned into a book, six years later. The love and devotion from the creators to the book is apparent, and the core concept of is very solid: a spooky haunted house that spans time and devours victims that feeds into old wives tales and mystic lore surrounding The House. Adding soldiers to this mix, and not just soldiers World War II, running in fear around The House just adds legitimacy to the creepiness. However, there’s a little lost in the execution of creating this house of horrors.
The art and story are not perfectly aligned throughout this story. Readers will have to go back and re-read sections to understand which character is which and figure out what is going on. There is little re-introduction or continued repetition of character name’s either, leaving the reader not invested in them. There is a particular panel that is confusing where one character, glasses guy, puts a table or some kind of furniture through a window. You are not sure who the guy is who is throwing the object because the only time his name is mentioned was in the previous issue, and you are also unsure what he is throwing because there is no indication of which object is being tossed in the before panels. The storytelling is just lazy to not include the piece of furniture in earlier panels, ensuring it catches the reader’s eye so, when the dramatic throwing happens, we are right there with the character following their urgency to escape and decision-making.
Sorry, but in the comic medium, you have to give the readers more in order to build not only the conviction of the story, but also invest them in the characters. How can we care about glasses guy, if the only thing we learn about him is that he speaks some Spanish and he wears glasses? The character design is thin and there is little besides hair and glasses to give each character a distinguishable look. Some characters within the soldier battalion appear to have the same face, but different hair or clothes. This is very confusing and also just sloppy storytelling.
The House #2 gives us the spooky killer house that can send chills down your spine. It does have the horror comic appeal, but lacks the ability to attract a broader audience. With a little more attention to characters and art detail, this book has the potential to really stand out. The book has promise to be a compelling read; the premise is strong, but the art and supporting cast need some development to ensure readers find them near and dear to their heart.