After enjoying Dark Horse’s House of Penance #1 by Peter Tomasi (w) and Ian Bertram (a) as much as I did, I figured I should give issue #2 a go. So, did issue #2 keep the momentum going after House of Penance came charging strongly out the gate last month?
One of the first things I noticed as I read this issue is the pacing. As the first issue is a slow, methodical build-up to the unknown, the second issue wastes no time jumping in head first. References the characters bring up hints at the time period, such as how the construction workers mention the Spanish-American War and Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, but as the first issue takes the time to slowly drag you down into this world via the time period, issue #2 focuses nearly exclusively on the psychological horror of it all.
Peter Tomasi’s storytelling power is in top form here. He manages to reveal more about the house and the dark energies at work while revealing almost nothing to the reader. It takes an expert at top of their game to manage this feat so well. And all the while, the lines between reality and fantasy bend and blur to keep the reader guessing.
Ian Bertram pushes his limits here as well. While the first issue saw hints at what lurks in the dark, the second issue is far more overt, while still holding on to the mystery. More hints of the strange and maddening pop up throughout this issue, and Ian Bertram captures it brilliantly with all the different characters’ faults and imperfections bared in front of us.
That being said, it's hard to overstate just how well Dave Stewart ties it all together. As colorist, his use of shadow and blending blacks and reds together perfectly craft the mood page to page, panel to panel.
I absolutely recommend Dark Horse Comics’ House of Penance #2. If you read the first issue, issue #2 should be on your must pick up list. If you passed up on issue #1, check your LCS for back issues. House of Penance deserves to be in your pull box. Available May 11th.
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