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Dollhouse Family 5 Main

"The Dollhouse Family #5" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics / Hill House Comics

article-cover

Written by M.R. Carey
Layouts by Peter Gross
Finishes by Vince Locke
Colored by Cris Peter
Lettered by Todd Klein
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 11th, 2020

Review:

Alice's life has not been the same since the mysterious dollhouse came into her life. After it took her daughter, Alice is determined to find out the truth, taking her down a rabbit hole of history, both in the area and within her own family. The secret of the dollhouse – and how the flashbacks connect to Alice – stands to reveal in The Dollhouse Family #5.

Let's be clear about something right up front: The Dollhouse Family is a creepy comic from the start. This issue though? It makes a huge leap into pure, unbridled terror. This is one of most unsettling comics I've ever read. It just keeps hitting, raising the bar with each turn of the page.

What makes The Dollhouse Family stand out is how deep the horror goes. Writer M.R. Carey cuts right to the bone. Once Alice starts looking into this, she can't stop. She goes farther and farther down and there's no turning back. You know that what awaits her is more terror, but she has to continue. I found myself reading this with equal parts dread and anticipation. I was fearful of what was in store, but I had to find out what happened next.

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Artists Peter Gross and Vince Locke transition so seamlessly from the normal world to the bizarre that you barely notice the change. It's just that all of a sudden you're surrounded by unfamiliar territory and plunging headfirst into chaos. Throughout it all, Alice has a rather stoic look on her face. She's pushing through all this insanity with one thing on her mind: her daughter's safety. Nothing will stop her from rescuing her child.

As such, the layouts are rather traditional in nature. The panels are normal, upright rectangles with everything in its proper place...until it's not. As Alice gets closer to the truth, the panels get more erratic, like she's breaking through to the unknown. The images are more skewed in harsh angles and a varied layout.

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When Alice discovers the origins of the dollhouse, it’s amid dirt and grime. Colorist Cris Peter fills these sequences with dingy browns and greys. This might be where the dollhouse was born, but it's where so much else has died. The real standout comes with the final pages of this issue, which are still creeping me out just thinking about it. Peter's color work is dark and ominous, spelling doom for all who see it. Letterer Todd Klein provides some great finishing touches here too, adding just the right amount of extra scares to put this over the edge.

The Dollhouse Family really ups its game with this issue. I will admit I fell off a bit around issue #3 or #4, but this one more than makes up for it. It's an absolutely terrifying comic that shocked and scared me. I've been trying to rank the Hill House Comics titles for a bit, but it's proving to be an impossible task with how solid each book has been.

Grades:

Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fourandahalfstars
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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