In recent issues, Emmy has taken on the task of keeping the balance between the haints and humans of Harrow County. The problem is she is the offspring of an evil witch, and so she isn’t as trusted by the humans as she’d like to believe. Bernice, on the other hand, has been recently trained by a protector of Harrow County, a mysterious woman who uses magic to find and kill the haints. Whereas Emmy seeks empathy and solutions, Bernice seeks actions and outcomes.
As I’m sitting here thinking about the events in issue 22, I realize how emotionally attuned and involved I am with Emmy’s journey. She is someone who, through no fault of her own, doesn’t fit in with human or haint, and the more she tries to find her place, the more she seems to become dislocated from everyone she cares about and wants to protect. I realize the confrontation that is being built between Emmy and Bernice, and I’m not looking forward to. I don’t want Emmy to have to make a decision she’ll regret, and I don’t want her to lose one of her only connections with her human side.
What writer Cullen Bunn is doing is creating something far scarier than your simple horror story with devils and the undead. I think the real frightening thing will come from the decision Emmy may be forced to make: between human and haint. I have a feeling she won’t be able to walk the line much longer, that her hand will be forced, and I have no idea what the outcome will look like. I’m afraid when she makes that decision she won’t be able to turn back.
I’m genuinely afraid for her.
Folks, this is stellar fiction, storytelling at its finest. And yes, it wouldn’t be possible without the artist, Tyler Crook, grounding us in this realistic, but fantastical, world with every panel. His storybook-style watercolor images both frighten and fill me with wonder and create genuine empathy for even the most horrifying of monsters. It wouldn’t be possible without a strong editor in Daniel Chabon who helps guide several of my favorite books from Dark Horse. This is one of the best collaborations in any field right now, and I can’t wait for the next issue.