Birch County is one such place, where a decrepit Manor Black is ruled by dark magic and a patriarch who nears death. In Manor Black #1, Roman Black agonizes over choosing his successor. His children vie for his power, his dead ancestors push him to make a decision, but something holds him back. Elsewhere in Birch County, a group of friends in a van try to outrun another vehicle but are run off the road when a mysterious figure appears out of nowhere. The longtime sheriff and his new deputy discover four fatalities in the wreckage, unaware that a fifth passenger, Ari, has survived. Could she be the key to Roman’s dilemma?
The start of a four-issue mini-series, Manor Black #1 packs a lot in each page, but writers Bunn and Hurtt manage incredible restraint by not revealing too many details. From the action-packed beginning to dialogue with the long deceased, each page is filled with suspense and mystery, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next. An hourglass filled with blood, a wrecked van caught in the middle of a symmetrically burned ground, a basement filled with skeletons who talk, and a girl whose presence is both powerful and mysterious – the scene is set for an incredible horror tale.
Artist Tyler Crook is a must-have for this series, as his past collaborations with Bunn are flawless. Crook brings about both depth and dread in his work. The nuances surrounding the magic-laden panels take the reader into the world of the dark arts, while his ability to create realistically terrifying characters and scenery is nothing short of stunning. Most impressive is the space around the characters and objects which appears to be filled with spirits and darkness. The constant, almost water-stained shadows lend to an ominous background that subtly haunts the reader as much as the main images.
Manor Black #1 is a brilliant foray into a new magical world created by the most horror-rific of minds. There is nothing stopping this team from leading readers into nightmares, ones that are guaranteed to chill horror aficionados for the rest of the series.
Creative Team: Writers – Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt; Artist, Colorist, and Cover – Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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