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"Secrets of Sinister House #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

Secrets Of Sinister House Large

Written by Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Robbie Thompson, Dan Watters, John Layman, Paul Dini, Che Grayson, Diego Lucero Lopez, and Bryan Hill
Illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, Tom Raney,Sumit Kumar, Jorge Fornes, Cian Tormey, Miguel Mendonca, Phil Hester, and Alessandro Vitti
“Out of my Skin” inked by Ande Parks
Colored by Dave McCaig, Hi-Fi,John Kalisz, Jordie Bellaire, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Bill Crabtree, Jeromy Cox, and Adriano Lucas
Lettered by Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh, Troy Peteri, Steve Wands, Travis Lanham, Dave Sharpe, Andworld Design, and Willie Schubert
2019, 84 Pages, $9.99
Comic released October 9th, 2019

Review:

DC is back with another Halloween horror anthology, packed with eight tales of terror featuring everyone from Detective Chimp and Martian Manhunter to The Atom and Vampire Batman. How does horror fare in a world with caped crusaders and men of steel? The answer is pretty damn well.

What I love about Secrets of Sinister House is how close the scary stuff is to the surface. One small turn and super heroes are suddenly dealing with possessed dolls or worm monsters. They could have been stopping a bank robbery or thwarting Two-Face's plan to steal all the Doublemint gum from the Twin Cities and now they're faced with stuff ripped right from horror movies.

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Each tale in Secrets of Sinister House gets to the heart of the character involved. This elevates the scares because we're deeply invested in some of these heroes. Even those that you might not be that acquainted with, like the newer Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, have more than enough to relate to in terms of how they see the world and why they're heroes.

As with most anthologies, it's tough to pick a favorite, but I will highlight a couple stories that really stand out. “Out of My Skin” from writer Diego Lucero Lopez, artist Phil Hester, Inker Ande Parks, colorist Jeromy Cox, and letterer Andworld Design has the Martian Manhunter investigating a series of strange animal and human deaths in a swamp. The victims have all been skinned. There's something so very creepy about an empty husk of flesh tossed to the side, sitting right next to a man with all of his muscles and organs out for the world to see. J'onn J'onzz finds something otherworldly lurking in this swamp and he's uniquely suited to get to the bottom of this.

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This story, and most of the others, contain a message of sorts. Many show us that we can't judge a book by its cover and that things are not as they seem. Something that might appear monstrous in nature, like Vampire Batman, could still be out to do the right thing. Most of the tales in Secrets of Sinister House end with this kind of “a-ha” moment when the theme hits you. If this were a TV show, someone would be looking longingly at the camera to deliver the final words to sum it all up. “In the end, we learned that the monster...[pause for dramatic effect]...was us.”

I love that DC has made it a Halloween tradition to release a horror anthology every year. I honestly wish they did more of them instead of just waiting for October. There are other spooky holidays, right? Have you seen Arbor Day? I'm sure Swamp Thing could have a special around there. In any case, Secrets of Sinister House is another solid entry and shows how horror can exist in a world full of super heroes and villains. It's often lurking just beneath the surface, ready to jump out and scare the crap out of you.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Secrets Of Sinister House Small
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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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