The bond of family runs deep. Whether it’s shared bloodlines or love between spouses, the ties that keep families together are hard to sever, even if the family is at odds. Those same strong connections can work against the members, just as much as they can help, but when something powerful roots itself in the family tree, it can be utterly terrifying.
SPOILERS BELOW (for Issues #1-5)
In Bone Parish Chapter Six: Emperors, Beggars, and Madmen, we rejoin the Winters family in their quest to keep their tenuous hold on their drug empire of The Ash, a hallucinogenic drug they invented that is made using the ashes of dead people. They have already lost one son, Wade, in the battle against several other drug cartels vying for control, and other cartels have made themselves known, creating new problems for the Winters family. Matriarch Grace Winters has been using a special version of The Ash made from her deceased husband’s remains. She had been seeing him in hallucinations while on the drug, but like a twisted séance, it brought his ghost back to her, an unforeseen side effect.
In Issue #6, Grace sets daughter and chemist Brigitte on the path to make a new, improved version of The Ash based on the recipe she used with Grace’s husband’s remains. Grace believes clients would pay high premiums for such a product, a drug that brings loved ones back to those who consume it. While Brigitte gets to work, other cartels are getting closer to the Winters, and a new detective has her sights on bringing down the operation. One cartel decides to reverse engineer The Ash which, being the highly specialized drug that it is, could result in some terrible human trials before they perfect the concoction.
Writer Cullen Bunn remains at the top of his game, not missing a beat at the halfway mark in this remarkable 12-issue series. He has not slowed down once, and not one issue has failed the reader. Issue #6 has again hit its mark, with Bunn taking the development of the Winters family even further. We get to learn more about the dynamics in the family, some of the motivations for Brae and Leon Winters, and the rivalry between siblings is solidified. I don’t remember reading a comic (or any media, for that matter) where a family has been so well explored that one feels as if they are part of that family, even if they are as screwed up as the Winters.
Issue #5 didn’t really have those trippy scenes with The Ash, so the one in this issue certainly made up for it! I have never been so excited to see someone on drugs, only because of the amazing artwork by Jonas Scharf – and boy, did he make it worthwhile! The Ash hallucination scenes are my favorite with the art, even though it is always beautiful, and I cannot wait for the next time someone decides to do The Ash.
Once again, the Bone Parish team has pulled off a perfect ten of a comic. With only six more issues to go, there is much more excitement and variations of The Ash to come. I, for one, cannot wait for the next trip.
Creative Team: Writer – Cullen Bunn; Artist – Jonas Scharf; Colors – Alex Guimãraes; Letters – Ed Dukeshire; Cover – Jonas Scharf
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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