Nora a reporter rushes through Chinatown on her way to interview an elderly woman living in a peculiar mansion swirling with strange rumors. When elements of the woman’s story don’t seem to square with the facts, the dark reality of the house reveals itself: the scoop of a lifetime……
Going into a comicbook cold may not always be the way to go. Most readers like to have some kind of idea what they’re getting into, but every now and then a little knowledge can be a letdown. When comic creator YiLi Fang sent me a copy of her latest, I made a couple snap judgements based on her gorgeous artwork for the cover & first page, but that was it. I didn’t look too much farther into what her book was about than that but, now that I’ve read it, that was the way to go.
I’m not going to ruin anything for anyone else out there, but in general terms Lineage is a creeping horror on par with anything else out there. YiLi starts out with a pretty run of the mill “stranger in a strange land” setup as Nora arrives at the Chinatown home of Madam Guan for a magazine interview. We’re not given much more than that going in, but as the interview moves along, YiLi eases the reader into some troubling waters. There are some jumps where the non-linear narrative might lose a reader who isn’t paying close attention, but sticking with it has a definite payoff.
As well done as the story is, I have to out YiLi Fang as a ridiculously talented artist. Lineage might not have worked half as well for me if YiLi hadn’t been able to set her story in a beautiful setting. It’s in that beauty where YiLi establishes a bizarre contradiction as the horror of her story seeps in. The pages show multiple windows into this pocket world, by which I mean the supernatural world and the self-contained mystery of Chinatown itself. I know I keep coming back to how gorgeous YiLi Fang’s illustrations are, but it worked as a kind of rope-a-dope for me. I started out lulled into the pretty pictures and wound up somewhere else entirely.
I’m keeping this review short and to the point, because the more I yammer on about Lineage, the more likely it is that I’m gonna spill something that needs to be discovered by a reader firsthand. Anyone who’s watched movies like The Ring (Ringu) or The Grudge (Ju-On) might understand just how disturbing this kind of horror can get. Take a hop over to YiLi’s Kickstarter page while there’s still time, and see if there’s anything there that could interest you. At the end of the day, there are going to be worse ways for you to spend a couple bucks.
Final Score: 11/13