Daphne Byrne is the fourth Hill House Comics series to debut and so far it’s an example of how versatile the line can be. Laura Marks and Kelley Jones have set up a coming-of-age story, but with monsters and things that go bump in the night. In the first issue, we left off with Daphne finding blood on her bedspread. What does it mean? How about that weird kid who seems to be supernatural, what’s his deal? Find out more in the well-paced second issue.
This issue opens things up and explores a bit more what this series is really about. I was a tad frustrated with the first issue since it wasn’t abundantly clear whether everything was in Daphne’s head–including the weird monsters drawn impeccably by Jones–or if it was some kind of physical thing yet to be revealed. All is explained in that regard in a key scene with Daphne and a few bullies from school. She puts a fear in them via a face you will linger on because it’s so grotesquely perfect. We also get to see a bit more of what the mysterious boy can do and there seems to be an incredible macabre connection to Daphne and her father.
The issue opens where we left off with Daphne finding blood on her bedspread. From there we’re given a rigamarole from the women in the house who insist she stay home from school since she’s “sick.” Meanwhile, the b-plot of Daphne’s mother going to the fortune teller begins to reap development. There’s a reveal that will likely line up with Daphne’s newfound abilities. That’s a good example of how this book is pacing and plotting well. When you can start to see the gears working together and understand where we might go, your anticipation begins to rise.
Michelle Madsen’s colors perfectly add to Jones’ lines and inks. There’s a full-page splash of a treasure trove of monsters you won’t want to miss. The cliffhanger is another example of great horror visuals straight out of the Creepshow, and I dare you to read the last page and not get itchy all over.
This is a good second issue and it’s also an improvement on the first issue. This is a great example of how you should always give comics a two-issue chance. I was left wanting with the first issue, but now I’m beginning to see how all these horrific delights will bear fruit.