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Bone Orchard Tenement 01 Main

"Tenement #1" Comic Review

Written by Joel Harley

Published by Image Comics

bone orchard tenement 01 cover large

Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Steve Wands
2023, 38 pages
Comic released on June 21st, 2023


The latest entry in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Bone Orchard project, their Tenement comes billed as 'Rosemary's Baby meets Dario Argento's Inferno.' No small amount of hype then. Following no fewer than seven (!) lead characters in a gloomy tenement building, this ten-part miniseries (expanded from six, to make room for its large cast of characters) is perhaps The Bone Orchard Mythos's most ambitious entry yet.

Click images to enlarge.

The Bone Orchard Mythos, for the uninitiated, being a shared horror universe spearheaded by Lemire and Sorrentino, and an attempt at building an expansive mythos not dissimilar to that of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu stories. Preceded by the one shot story Prelude: Shadow Eater, the graphic novel The Passageway and the five-issue miniseries Ten Thousand Black Feathers, this continues to open up their world of supernatural horror stories, even as the action is constrained to a creepy old apartment building. Not read the other books in the series? Worry not, neither had I: The Bone Orchard Mythos is designed to be read in any order, remaining accessible to both the casual and converted.

It takes a confident soul to brand something you yourself have created a 'mythos,' and Lemire and Sorrentino do risk accusations that they're taking themselves a bit too seriously here. However, with Tenement - or at least its first issue - the pair seem to have pulled it off. Tenement is marvelously unsettling, drawing the reader in with its slow-burn story and haunting visuals. Isaac; Amanda; Justin; Felix; Tanya; Bob; Gary;all residents of said tenement, all bound in some twisted, arcane game. Or are they all just neighbours, with nothing in common but the place they live?

Click images to enlarge.

Sorrentino and colourist Dave Stewart draw the reader in with pages full of moody, poignant negative space; drenched in blood red, pitch black and murky oranges. This might be the most exquisitely coloured comic of the year, leaving its characters adrift against whole pages of bright orange sky and murky brown wallpaper. It even impresses when there's no colour at all; a crisp white absence against Steve Wands's delicate lettering (featuring the most handsomely lettered utterance of the phrase "weird little fucker" you'll ever read). Those who have followed Andrea Sorrentino's work will know what to expect, and he doesn't disappoint here, creating a diverse and realistic cast, thrown into an eerily recognisable, terrifyingly mundane setting. 'Atmospheric' is one of those words that gets thrown around in film and comic book criticism far too much, but there's no better way of describing Tenement.

This first issue doesn't give much more away than that, but those who are here for it should be immediately drawn into the lived-in world and characters created here.


Story: Fourstars

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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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