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"Hungry Ghosts #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Hungry Ghosts 4 00

Written by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose
Illustrated by Irene Koh and Francesco Francavilla
Colored by Jose Villarrubia
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 9th, 2018

Review:

Are you ready for the final terrifying tales of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai? There are only a few remaining candles as the last two chefs prepare to tell their stories aimed to frighten the guests. Will a demon be revealed before the night is over?

As with previous issues, this chapter of Hungry Ghosts is broken up into two separate stories. The first, “The Snow Woman,” illustrated by Irene Koh, follows a young man trapped in a snowstorm who comes face-to-face with a beautiful ice princess. No, it's not Elsa from Frozen. In fact, she does the opposite of “Let it Go” and spends the night with the guy so long as he doesn't tell anyone about it. Since he's your average guy, the excitement is a bit too much for him and he blabs to some buddies. You can probably guess what happens next.

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What is surprising about this story is how brutal the vengeance is that is carried out. This isn't a simple murder. This is long, drawn out, and just plain cruel. We're talking Oldboy-level tactics here. On the one hand, it's pretty rough to watch, but on the other, this dumb guy was given very simple instructions. He'd live if he didn't open his mouth. He had one job!

Koh's artwork is beautiful, capturing the range of emotions the young man goes through over the course of his journey. There's terror, happiness, regret, and even more terror. Aside from his encounters with the snow woman, this man's life is completely normal, living out his days in peace and tranquility.

Jose Villarrubia's colors make “The Snow Woman” stand out in more ways than one. This is particularly true for the title character, appearing on the page in shocking white with blue trim. She looks like a force of nature, which might very well be what she is.

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The final tale, “The Cow's Head” from artist Francesco Francavilla, is something else. It is a frightening story about a village plagued by famine. Nothing will grow, so the villagers are forced to eat all their livestock, pets, rodents, and then finally, each other. When a man with a cow's head shows up, they are past the point of salvation and attack him, only to quickly regret it. It's a lesson in mob mentality and it's rather chilling.

Francavilla is an incredible artist and this story definitely showcases his talents. The standout scene is a page broken out in panels resembling the cow-headed man's silhouette as the villagers attack him. It's a gorgeous display of violence and bloodshed that quickly outlines how far gone these people are.

Hungry Ghosts has been a unique horror anthology with a total of eight stories centered on food. There is a small thread connecting each one that comes back in a big and satisfying way in the very end. Writers Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose have crafted some horrifying stuff here. Due to the way it's set up, it can easily be replicated to tell more tales in this nature. I'd love to see more. I guess I should say that I want seconds, huh?

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Hungry Ghosts 4 Cover
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

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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