"Harrow County #31" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated and lettered by Tyler Crook
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 30th, 2018
The evil Hester Beck is preparing for war, marshaling her forces to fight against Emmy, the last person standing in her way of complete domination of the area. She has the townspeople under mind control and they’re marching towards Emmy. The poor girl has to act fast if she’s going to survive, but she’s going to have to gather all her power to fight Hester once and for all.
To say there’s a lot of anticipation as Harrow County nears its end is an understatement. This is the penultimate issue of the series and it serves to move the two key players into position for what is sure to be a climactic final battle. Emmy has to come to grips with what she’s become and what she’ll have to do to save everyone.
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This comes through powerfully in Tyler Crook’s incredible artwork. First, there’s a display of Emmy’s strength and abilities as she loses control for just a moment, unleashing an immense amount of energy. This completely decimates her foe, leaving nothing but ash in its wake. While this is amazing to see, the reaction from Emmy is more telling. She didn’t know she could do that and she’s not entirely comfortable with it.
My favorite segment of Harrow County #31 comes when Emmy dispatches two of Hester’s snakes that come slithering up to her, presumably to try and take her over too. Quick side note, that’s how Hester controls people. These snakes go into their ears and take over their minds. Good luck sleeping tonight with that thought kicking around your head.
Anyway, the snake scene works very well as it starts with Emmy scared and confused as she reaches out for anything to use as a weapon. She finds a rock and uses it to bludgeon these two snakes to death in the most brutal fashion. The panels zoom in on Emmy’s face, alternating between the regular image and one in bright, violent red. The red corresponds to each blow with a solid “SMASH” and a crazed look on the girl’s face. The page ends with a similar expression as the beginning, with Emmy frightened by what she’s done.
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Emmy is forced to confront ghosts from her past on this journey. These are people and beings that she’s lost to Hester along the way. She might feel like she’s let these folks down, as she wasn’t able to protect them. These voices give Emmy the final push she needs to face Hester. She realizes what she has to do, even if she might lose her life in the process.
This is such a strong scene and the latest in a long line of them in this series. Writer Cullen Bunn has created such real and relatable characters throughout this run and Emmy is the strongest of them all. The final moments of this issue feel like a rally cry as we get squarely in Emmy’s corner. We’re cheering her on and wishing her well as she faces such a massive threat to her life.
We’ve got one issue left of Harrow County. While I’m sad to see it go, the finale looks like an amazing ride, so I can’t wait to see how it wraps up. I’m eagerly awaiting the last issue with bated breath and clenched fists. Seriously, just read this book and thank me later.