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"House Amok #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by IDW Publishing

House Amok 4 00

Written by Christopher Sebela
Illustrated by Shawn McManus
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Neil Uyetake
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 9th, 2019

Review:

Family road trips can be hell on their own, cramped in a small space with your parents and siblings for hours on end. Dylan has it particularly rough, as her family is on a cross country killing spree, murdering anyone and everyone that comes across their path, thinking they’re part of some kind of demonic machine. The poor girl is the only sane one in the bunch, seeing the truth and consequences of their actions. Can she break free from this rampage of death and destruction? Or will she get pulled back into the chaos?

Discounting the fact that this might sound like a fun vacation to some horror fans, House Amok is a trippy ride. We’re assuming that what Dylan is saying and seeing is the real deal. She’s the narrator after all. It’s like the opposite of your typical imaginative stories you’d get from a child. Instead of the adults shrugging off the tall tales from a kid, it’s the kid who’s trying to convince the parents and older siblings that they’re not making sense.

Artist Shawn McManus treats us to flashes of what the parents are seeing and they’re nothing short of horrific. A bus driving down the road is suddenly surrounded by monsters of all shapes and sizes. These supernatural creatures will gobble up Dylan and her family if they hesitate for even a moment.

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The shots of these monsters come alive with Lee Loughridge’s colors. They’re shown in this fiery red that blurs their images just a bit, as if you’re catching a glimpse of them out of the corner of your eye, furthering the uneasy feeling that they’re not really there. This contrasts well with the real-world elements, which look otherwise normal.

That being said, it’s chilling to think of Dylan’s family’s actions as “normal” when they’re driving down the street with a flamethrower on one side and a machine gun on the other. They’re wearing these creepy white masks with a painted on smile.

Reality starts to ebb and flow in House Amok #4. There’s a great sequence where the family bus starts to come alive, like it’s one massive monster made of teeth, eyeballs, and gooey flesh. This adds to the overall sanity-bending tone of the comic, forcing you to question what’s real and what’s fake.

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Click images to enlarge

Throughout it all, we’re reminded that Dylan is only a kid. Her internal narration is presented as excerpts from her diary. Letterer Neil Uyetake shows these not as traditional caption boxes, but like pieces of yellow lined paper, torn out from the journal.

House Amok is like Natural Born Killers through the lens of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s disturbing in the best way and will always keep you guessing. We’re way past the point of Child Protective Services getting involved. We’ll need a whole slew of organizations to rein in this family and keep Dylan safe. I’m just not sure how many people will die before that happens.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars House Amok 4 Cover
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: Fourstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
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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