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Parliament of Rooks #4
Comixology Originals

Comic Books

‘Parliament of Rooks’ #4 review

Answers are revealed in the penultimate issue of Abigail Jill Harding’s excellent series.

Four issues in, and Parliament of Rooks is finally delivering the answers. Throughout this miniseries, writer-artist Abigail Jill Harding has been telling the story of Darius Ravenscar losing his humanity and is he consumed by his continuing monstrous state, and the only thing he can cling onto in his lover, Princess Seraphina, who happens to be going through her own transformation as the Moon Maiden. 

Although the story so far has painted Darius’ family with an air of mystery, even towards his sister Rowanna who has a greater grasp of what is going on before her tragic demise in the previous issue, we get flashbacks that showcase the loving nature of said family. From his mother introducing a young Darius to her baby sister, to a scene in their later years where Rowanna encourages Darius’ aspirations of becoming an architect, we get the former architect’s narration that recounts these events as he memorizes through regrets and broken promises. 

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As much as Darius’ past is filled with the women he failed, there isn’t much development towards Calisandra, the young artist that Darius planned to wed before she drove to madness and eventual suicide. However, as Darius tries to delve deep into the family secrets that could give answers to his curse, it is revealed not to be a curse, but his birthright. If you have been enjoying the horror influences from the series, Harding continues to revel in them with a scene of sorcery and demonic birth, and a piece of dialogue that is a reference to David Cronenberg’s The Fly.

Parliament of Rooks #4
ComiXology Originals

The first half of this issue can get very wordy with the amount of exposition, but once the two lovers decide to return to Eborvik so that Darius can answer for his crimes, tension rises as the city is left abandoned by its king following the monster attacks. Despite how grim the story is, Harding manages to sneak in some humor, such as a rook pulling the pin of a grenade much to the bafflement of soldiers before blown to smithereens.

Harding’s monochrome art continues to be the highlight of Parliament of Rooks. It maintains a visually consistent aesthetic despite the book somewhat meshing numerous genres, ranging from horror fantasy, Gothic romance and even kaiju cinema. From the panels of a monstrous Darius in silhouette, to the red-colored splash pages of two giant rooks clashing each other in the air, Harding presents one of the scariest and visually dazzling comic books currently on the shelf.

Parliament of Rooks #4
‘Parliament of Rooks’ #4 review
Parliament of Rooks #4
As the story approaches its climax, the penultimate issue of Parliament of Rooks delivers answers, as well as a stunning horror spectacle.
Reader Rating1 Votes
Harding's monochrome art with a tiny dash of blood red continue to be dazzling.
Given its numerous genre influences, the story is consistent with what it sets out to do.
Flashbacks reveal a number of revelations from characterisation to body horror.
The majority can be heavy on exposition, with the amount of speech bubbles and captions.
Side characters like the deceased Calisandra don't get enough development that inform the main narrative.

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