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Daphne Byrne 3 Main

"Daphne Byrne #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics / Hill House Comics

article-cover

Written by Laura Marks
Illustrated by Kelley Jones
Colored by Michelle Madsen
Lettered by Rob Leigh
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 4th, 2020

Review:

The creeping horror of Daphne Byrne continues as the young woman gets closer and closer to the darkness. Brother, the mysterious otherworldly entity that has taken an interest in Daphne, is presenting a pretty compelling case for succumbing to the supernatural powers lurking just beneath the surface. When you can have the annoying mean girls shut up with a thought and scare the crap out of them to boot, it's hard to stay on the straight and narrow. Meanwhile, Daphne's mother is getting deeper with the con men allegedly communicating with her dead husband and there are some dark twists and turns there too.

Daphne Byrne has been an expert case of slow burn horror so far and this issue delivers that in spades. It presents a truly disturbing quality through every page. Much of this comes through with Kelley Jones' artwork as he presents these subtle moments that really get under your skin. A real standout image comes early in the issue where Daphne and her nanny are walking down the street, but there are three shadows on the wall, not two. Brother is following along, unseen to the naked eye, yet he still looms behind them in a threatening manner.

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Every so often we'll get flashes of the lengths Daphne can go if she embraces the dark side. These come as a shock as the imagery flips from normal for the time period to abject terror. Jones delivers a slew of frightening creatures in this issue, each more grotesque than the last. Colorist Michelle Madsen renders these in a lighter, faded tone to signify how only Daphne can see them. This makes them stand out even more.

Jones occasionally uses unusual angles in his panels, adding to the eerie nature of the story. When you see something from a unique perspective like that, it can be a little jarring, but in the best way. You're already cautious due to how this book is going, so that only amplifies that feeling.

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Brother and Daphne begin communicating telepathically in this issue whereas previously she spoke while his responses popped into her head. Letterer Rob Leigh distinguishes the two voices with different styles so we know who is speaking. Brother's words show up in borderless boxes, making them appear like they're floating in air.

This slow burn continues to delight as Daphne Byrne solidifies itself as one of the most unsettling comics on the stands today. This poor girl is trying to find her place in the world, haunted by a mysterious creature making quite a case to embrace the strange and unknown powers she seems to possess. Writer Laura Marks leaves just enough open to interpretation so there's a part of me that wonders if this is all in Daphne's head and I absolutely love that feeling.

Grades:

Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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