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"Hotell #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by AWA Studios


Written by John Lees
Illustrated by Dalibor Talajic
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 22nd, 2020


We've learned that the Pierrot Courts is a pretty special place. It can serve as a sanctuary for those looking to get away...or a dark omen. Just like the old roach motels, some check in and never check out. That's what happened to Kristen's sister Lisa, although the situation was a little different. Lisa was the last victim of Wilbur Finch, a heinous serial killer. Both of them were last seen at this hotel, so Kristen has sought it out to find some answers...but she finds something else instead.

When speaking to writer John Lees about Hotell #3, he told me this was the scariest issue yet. He was not wrong. This comic is so friggin' creepy. Everything about it just builds upon itself to an unsettling crescendo. You've got the serial killer angle, the mysterious hotel, hidden tunnels, and whatever the hell is lurking in the walls. Just when you think it can't get scarier, it ups the ante.

All of this is driven by Kristen's need to find out what happened to her sister. Her writing about it as a journalist is a strange extra aspect to it that doesn't feel entirely needed. If they were that close, why does she also have to write this article about it in order to get on the trail? I guess being a writer helps open a few doors in some areas.

Click images to enlarge

In any case, Kristen is prepared for the worst when she sets out on this journey, but what she finds is something she could not have expected. Artist Dalibor Talajic does some brilliant work underscoring the odd and unnatural aspects of this place. This is everything from Kristen's horrified facial expressions to the eerie nature of the hotel itself.

Where Talajic really excels is in the creepy things found in the walls. I'm not going to spoil the details here, but suffice it to say, these will stay with you for some time. The detail work is impressive and adds to the horror, especially with how quickly the images come and go. While you can take your time and stare at them for as long as you'd like, you almost question what you're seeing.

Colorist Lee Loughridge amplifies this terror a thousand-fold with some brilliant shadow work. The cool blues of the night contrast with the darkness that awaits Kristen during her investigation. The shadows close in on her, practically suffocating the poor woman as she pushes herself further and further to get the answers she seeks. At times she's lit by the glow of her cellphone, walking into complete darkness to complete her quest. This is the part of a horror movie where you'd be yelling at the screen, telling her not to go down that alley.

Click images to enlarge

Hotell has been a series of stand-alone stories and this issue is no different. It is interesting to see how Lees touches upon the previous chapters so we can see how everything ties together. We also get a peek at what is presumably the final issue of the series and it's definitely pretty ominous. Letterer Sal Cipriano says quite a bit with a single word in one panel and I am dying to find out what's going on in that room.

Hotell is one of the most innovative and frightening comics on the stands today. It's like a more horrific Twilight Zone, where anything can happen, although it's never bright and shiny. It's always dark and sinister.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 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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