‘Visitations #4:’ Comic Book Review

Visitations #4: Victrola of Doom, Scott Larson’s latest installment in his comic tribute to old Chicago, returns to a slightly lighter tone than the previous issue.  It’s still darker than previous events such as the balloon race, but there aren’t as many heartbreaking societal issues in the foreground of the plot. (It may be a commentary on myself that I find murder less traumatic than sex trafficking.)  At the center of the story is the titular Victrola which allegedly has a demon locked inside that will kill anyone who uses it to listen to a record. Given the main story is presented as a radio drama on vinyl being played for readers/the characters in the frame story, are we safe from the curse? It’s up to you to decide.

The frame narrative focuses on the Aviator and Scout in 1940s Chicago investigating the Visitations vault of cursed/dangerous/possessed objects.  I sense some foreshadowing for future issues with the Aviator’s commentary on some of the items, but Scout, being a young boy (at least in appearance), mainly wants to dig through the stash and satisfy his curiosity.

The tale presented by the Victrola’s playback examines Blackwood’s investigation into a series of mysterious deaths that may affect the future of Chicago.  He also desperately wants to identify his nemesis Bajardo in an effort to clear his name. (It’s hard to get anything done when the police and a major crime boss want you arrested or dead.)  Larson also provides a little more backstory for Nellie in this issue, but it’s just enough to see that she was a warm, loving individual before the events that made her a Visitation.  

Victrola of Doom doesn’t feel as history packed as I’ve come to expect from the Visitations series, but the reference to the Iroquois Theater being fireproof is significant. (Thanks to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast for educating me on the actual events.)  It may also be meant as a bit of foreshadowing that the theater will remain fireproof as long as Blackwood is alive….

Holy smokes! Full-color artwork makes me happy! Scott Larson’s huge quantity of beautiful, full-color pages in this issue kept me engaged. (Some of the use of color and shadow with the two mediums is exquisite!)  As a result, the pages that are mostly black and white or use dulled tones/limited palettes stand out and feel especially significant. (See Blackwood in the last several pages of the main story.)  The artwork alone is worth the cover price.

If you love creepy, twisted stories of historic cities or even like a little classic Sherlock Holmes, Visitations #4: Victrola of Doom is right up your alley.  It has intrigue, sleight of hand, mysteries that aren’t as mystical as they may seem at first glance, and a dash of the true supernatural to keep readers guessing.  Volume #4 isn’t an ideal starting point for the series since it does build on events from the previous issues, but Larson always creates an encapsulated story that ends in one volume; first-time readers may just miss some of the threads that tie each installment together.  If you’re starting out on Visitations anyway, why not start at the very beginning?  The series is well worth it, and you’ll enjoy every moment more if you know how they fit together!


4 Strained Sisterly Relationships out of 5


Creative Team: Scott Larson (Story and Art) Len Strazewski (Creative Consultant), Heather Antos (editor)
Publisher:  Visitations Comic
Click here to purchase.  / To hear an audio drama version of Visitations #4, go to www.lockedintovacancy.com/visitations

 





Last modified on Wednesday, 03 April 2019 02:39

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