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‘Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #4’ – Advance Comic Book Review

There’s a point while cooking stew when all of the ingredients and their flavors coalesce, and it’s brilliant. When stew is slow cooked, and everything becomes tender – even better. You bite down and everything bursts in your mouth. That’s where we are with the newest issue of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. We’ve spent time with each of the characters individually – learning about them: who they are, what they mean to each other, and what they want from each other. Now, Caitlin R. Kiernan puts them all in the same room, and the flavors burst. What do the demented siblings want of the resurrected Dancy, how far will Dancy go to keep her love Maisy safe, and where will the verbally gifted bird fit in?

The hardboiled, Southern Gothic horror tones resonate on every page and in each of Daniel Warren Johnson’s panels. There’s something romantic about it: bats flying across full moons, sweat-drenched dreams of lovers and werewolves, and gun-toting and crazed family members hiding behind children’s masks. A place where death isn’t the end, where there are dreams and nightmares even after, and I can only assume there are fates far worse. But, Kiernan doesn’t become self-absorbed in her Poe-like poetry. The rhythm of her writing flows, dancing through the comic book, leading the reader across the ballroom floor with a sharp verbal wit and empathy to spare.

And, the experience all begins with Greg Ruth’s sumptuous covers. Absolutely stunning work.

The horror tale invigorates and enthralls, taking tropes and weaving new patterns. Give it a read.


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