GRAPHIC NOVELS

Blackwood: Vol. 1: The Mourning After

Dark Horse. Oct. 2020. 120p. ISBN 9781506716923. pap. $19.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
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Mysterious alumni swarm like flies to Blackwood College, the premiere higher education institution for the occult, attracted by the supernatural death of Dean Ogden. Freshmen Steven, Reiko, Wren, and Jamar are growing more nervous about how their lives became magically tied to the fate of the school by a terrible curse: if the school fails, then their own lives are forfeit. What’s more, their friend and fellow newcomer Dennis died under mystifying circumstances, making their continuing mortality suspect. While venturing out to forget their woes one night, they detect Dennis’s forlorn specter floating near a campus lake. Deciding that there might be a way to to restore him to life, they agree to abscond with his remains and drop them into a mystic healing well. Meanwhile, among the throng of visitors, a secret cabal is jockeying to pry hidden secrets and long-suppressed powers left guarded only by a two-headed chimp with an attitude.
VERDICT With this second in an ongoing series, veteran scribe Dorkin (Beasts of Burden) unleashes his trademark humor and honest humanity in a spellbinding horror adventure, while Veronica and Andy Fish’s (Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked) evocative and impressionistic art uses a blacklight color scheme that perfectly complements the carnival atmosphere and graveyard thrills.

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