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Bone Orchard: Tenement #1
Image Comics

Comic Books

‘Tenement’ #1 marks the diverse and skillful possibilities of the Bone Orchard Mythos

The work of longtime collaborators only continues to become more refined.

In his afterword for Tenement #1, artist Andrea Sorrentino suggests that the Bone Orchard Mythos has the potential for hundreds of stories. Enough thinking, conceptualizing, and mythologizing has been done between Sorrentino and writer Jeff Lemire that there is a solid bedrock – or a carefully tuned clockwork – within the Mythos.

Considered alongside what we’ve seen in the previous installments of the series (one FCBD issue, The Passageway, and Ten Thousand Black Feathers), Tenement suggests the potential not only for the number of stories but also their diversity. Where the other books each had their own distressing kernel of horror (a figure in the wilderness, the gaping maw of a well, and a murderous alternate world, respectively), Tenement contains the suggestion of a haunted house with a central insidious mystery.

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Bone Orchard: Tenement #1
Image Comics

“Haunted house” might be too narrow a term, too suggestive of a commonplace narrative – something the Bone Orchard Mythos has yet to slip into. The house in question is the titular tenement, of course, more Rosemary’s Baby than The Haunting of Hill House, though the book begins with a list of individuals more akin to the latter than the former: a group of diverse tenants who are fated to fall under the brunt of the book’s horror.

Bone Orchard: Tenement #1
Image Comics

This is new territory for the Mythos; each preceding story seemed intent to focus on a singular protagonist, supplying minor supporting characters as needed. The larger cast might suggest more chances for moments of horror, occurrences for less singular spookshows, or it might up the odds of survival in a collection of stories that have provided only bleak conclusions; this first issue doesn’t suggest anything one way or another.

What the issue does do, however, is easily strike the center of several of our protagonists with little effort; the reader comes to understand one character’s driving (perhaps crushing) circumstances, and it intimates certain things about another’s self-destructive coping mechanism. Amanda, an ER physician, communicates her concern over her son Isaac with a single, beautifully rendered panel.

Bone Orchard: Tenement #1
Image Comics

These are the joys of a book by longtime collaborators, powerful players in a medium alone but whose work together only continues to become more and more refined: what one supplies, the other accentuates. Tenement #1 barely introduces a whiff of horror, the inciting incident of a mystery, and yet these quiet beginnings continue to illustrate how rich and masterful the Bone Orchard continues to be.

Bone Orchard: Tenement #1
‘Tenement’ #1 marks the diverse and skillful possibilities of the Bone Orchard Mythos
Bone Orchard: Tenement #1
Instantly engaging and beautifully composed, Tenement #1 shows the growing potential to a much larger whole.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
By turns intimate and mysterious.
Vivid, striking artwork.
Subtle in its horror and mystery.
Its hook makes the reader instantly ready for issue #2.
Quiet, with its intrigue veiled.
9
Great
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