Harrow County #16 Early Review
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: September 14th, 2016
Rating: 9 out of 10
Synopsis: Emmy fights to save her home against the ravages of her new family.
The “Family Tree” storyline reaches its fateful conclusion with some dubious consequences for Emmy and both the human and non-human residents of Harrow County. Since the start of the series, Bunn and Crook have continued to expand the world of Harrow County and the amount and influence of its magical residents. This issue brings this build full circle and also helps to bring the amount of magical influence back to a manageable level.
One of the pitfalls of a series like this is the rapid introduction of magical and supernatural beings. If too many are introduced at once or added too quickly, the human element (the element that we can most relate to in a fantastical tale) begins to take a back seat to the adventures of an entire “magical society”. Where Cullen and Crook succeed where others have failed is that they understand that once the magical well begins to fill, some of the water needs to be “scooped off the top” (with a wooden bucket of course).
The end of the storyline effectively does this by setting up a fateful confrontation between Emmy and the witch collective that looks to change the town in a major way (or at least how the town reacts to Emmy). How the confrontation ends allows for Harrow’s original magical residents to become the focus of the story again (one demonic minotaur in particular) but also allows for the return of troublesome forces from beyond the borders of Harrow County in the future.
Crook’s art is particulaly engaging in this issue as well, and his use of red as the color palette of choice in scenes between Emmy and her caretaker is especially effective. The splash of red as the paint on the walls of the lodge and the eventual expansion of the color background to the land outside the building create a dynamic sense of tension and action without becoming overpowering to the senses. Another fine issue from this talented team.