REVIEW – Daphne Byrne #1

Daphne Byrne #1 - Hill House Comics / DC

Written by Laura Marks

Art by Kelley Jones

Colors by Michelle Madsen

Letters by Rob Leigh

Cover by Piotr Jablonski

If you had the chance to speak to a loved one who had passed on, would you?  Unfortunately, that is a question that you may have asked yourself at least once.  If so, could that then open up an of unforeseen circumstances?  Let's find out what haunts Daphne Byrne in the first issue of her new comic book series from Hill House Comics.

The story is set in 1886 New York, not too long after the Byrne family has suffered a terrible loss.  The title character, Daphne, definitely feels like the black sheep of the family.  Everything about her just seems different, and not surprisingly, she is judged for that.  She also seems to be in touch with something far beyond what others are capable of.  When she accompanies her mother to a medium to speak to her deceased father, a simple act may change her life in a big way.  She soon finds herself in a horrible situation, and it's up to us as readers to find out what is real and what isn't.  The impression that we are given on the final page might go a long way toward answering that question.

Sometimes horror is all about anticipation.  I remember when I was talking to Joe Hill once, and he talked about how he didn't care for "jump scares".  It seems like Marks and Jones aren't fans of that either, based on this first issue.  The build up of tensions and the fear of what's to come was palpable with each page.  How Daphne is perceived by others also gave me a sense of wanting to understand her more, which helped get me invested in the character.  This also didn't feel like a forced period piece, as stories like this often can.  The timeline matters, especially for the family dynamic and the somewhat naive nature of the mother, but it doesn't rule the story.  It doesn't rule the art either, which was quite refreshing.  Jones creates an overall eerie tone, helped greatly by amazing use of shadowing and colors by Madsen.  This book won't terrify you, but it will make you wonder what the consequences might be for dabbling in the world of the supernatural.  Now we just have to find out what Daphne's connection might be and why it's all happening.  I will definitely be sticking around to find out those answers.