House of Mystery #7 (DC Vertigo – Sturges / Willingham / Rossi / Petersen / Marzan Jr.)
The creepy basement in the House of Mystery doesn’t hold your average trinkets and cast-aside items. In fact, among the bits catalogued you’ll find the diary of “Cain,” one stained and bloody bed sheet, chains of assorted lengths, something slick and wet grinding over the stones, a maze and a minotaur. It’s chapter 2 of “Love Stories for Dead People” and you’ll never look at basements the same way again!
This new “Love Story” arc provides a great jump on point for fans of the bizarre, macabre and disturbing. Each issue of House of Mystery provides a main story which continues the adventures of those lost in time and space and trapped within the House and the other is a one-shot usually told by one of the trapped “guests”. This month both are excellent!
“The War” is the one-shot this month, penned by Bill Willingham and drawn by one of my all time favorites David Petersen (Mouse Guard) and is an incredible tale of the endless war between cats and birds in the garden of Order. The words and images make it reminiscent of Gaiman’s early work in Sandman. By a huge margin “The War” has been my favorite of the addition one-shots.
Matthew Sturgis takes our crew deeper into the bowels of the House, through the basement and into an unseen maze in their quest to escape. But it seems all they can find are strange leftover possessions from the previous owner, Cain. And perhaps a few heated moments. It is good to see the story actually moving forward, that will help move the perceptions of this book move from simply an anthology book into a pulp-style ongoing series. The combined styles of Luca Rossi’s pencils and Jose Marzan Jr.’s Inks combine to create panels that are heavy lined, great on depth and short on close detail. It’s not the kind of style I would want to read all the time, but it is a great fit for the dark tales of House of Mystery!
The bottom line is more people have to find out about this jewel in the Vertigo line.
Issue Grade: A
Series Grade: B+