Scott Larson’s first installment of Visitations reads as much like a love letter to Chicago’s history as a set up for a tale about organized crime, spirits, and supernatural shenanigans. The opening pages set up the era with a little of Chicago’s history before jumping into the story of a man (who dares to steal from the mob) being treated to being buried alive and then turning the tables on the men who attacked him. Somehow, the seamless merging of history lesson and entertaining tale works perfectly to create something that drew me in immediately.
Local Chicago magician Clayton Blackwood stole an item from mob boss Diamond Jim, and since he refuses to give it up, he’s going to pay by being buried alive; however, the mobsters don’t realize that this sleight of hand artist is no fake, and he has the supernatural denizens of Gracehill Cemetery on his side!
Visitations: The Menacing Phantoms is definitely the set up for further tales of Clayton Blackwood and Chicago, but it still works as a standalone story of how a talented man turns the tables on some Chicago mobsters. The plot blends local legends with original characters in a way that is both fun and educational (Okay, if you consider info about various hauntings educational; I thought it counted as edutainment!), and while they don’t necessarily stick with you, various things may pop up randomly in your daily routine. I found it easy to digest and highly engaging.
Larson’s artwork isn’t perfect, but he does an excellent job of bringing the creepy monuments of Gracehill Cemetery to life. The eerie portrayal of some monuments gave me pause as I tried to decide whether they qualified as strange memorials of a bygone era or were downright disturbing!
Overall, I enjoyed Visitations: The Menacing Phantoms thoroughly, and I think it will appeal to fans of supernatural stories and history buffs alike. Future installments will develop the story further, and they promise to give more details on the various alleged haunts in the region. I look forward to what Larson has to offer and hope for more information and creepy fun!
4.5 Stolen Talismans out of 5