Scott Larson’s Visitations #3: Mayhem at the Levee displays a slightly different storytelling style than his first two explorations into the ghostly history of Chicago. A mysterious woman known only as The Aviator receives a visitor who asks her to use the mysterious book, The True Annals of Chicago: The Victoria Era, to look into a tale from the city’s sordid past, when debauchery was confined to a region known as The Levee.
The Aviator’s tale is a frame story to present the heart of Larson’s latest volume. An unnamed, out-of-town businessman longs to experience the brothels and night life in The Levee, but he gets sucked into a murder investigation that smacks of the supernatural. The key to the culprit lies in a high-class madam’s tragic past in the Great Chicago Fire, but can our outsider allow himself to believe in other-worldly forces? More importantly, can he make it home alive?
Mayhem at the Levee delves deeper into Chicago’s history than the two previous installments of Visitations, which I wasn’t sure was even possible, given how much love for Chicago’s history pours off each page of the graphic novels. While La Plume Coloree is a fictional brothel, it represents the higher-end establishments that men with enough money and more discerning taste could visit. The focus is definitely on La Plume Coloree’s madam, but the plot weaves around circularly to provide insight into another of Blackwood’s companions: the Piper Boy who can revive dead bodies with his music.
Due to the story’s focus, Mayhem at the Levee is not as fun a romp as the first two issues of Visitations, but I found it intriguing and insightful. Human trafficking and the safety of the people involved continue to be an issue, and Laron uses his medium to create a human connection with the Victorian-era sex workers and draws a parallel to the problems today.
The artwork doesn’t offer any innovative panels like issue #2, but it’s unnecessary for this plot. The action on the page held my attention without needing anything extra to draw me into the plot. I had no familiarity with Old Chicago’s red light district, so the Visitations signature blend of fact and fiction kept me page turning.
Visitations #3: Mayhem at the Levee has a slightly different tone from the previous two issues, but I still think it could be a good jumping-on point to the series. The flavor is a little darker and more tied to still relevant societal concerns, but it’s an engaging read. Nothing in the story is explicit, but I would caution parents to screen this issue first to make sure they feel comfortable with the content. If you’ve loved the first two installments of Visitations, what are you waiting for? Another 60-page look into Chicago’s history and Blackwood’s entourage should be on the TBR pile already!
4 Anti-Corruption Banners out of 5
Creative Team: Scott Larson (Story and Art) Len Strazewski (Creative Consultant)
Publisher: Visitations Comic
Click here to purchase.