Source Point Press 2021
Written by Joshua Werner
Illustrated by Dustin Irvin
Lettered by Justin Birch
Chapter Two: The Puzzle
The Winchester Mystery House has grown to a behemoth of a mansion, the construction never stopping a single moment for years. Sarah Winchester's niece, Marion, gives a small group of workers a very special task... To hide her Aunt's greatest treasure in a secret room deep within the house. James Handler and Sarah's long time lawyer and confidante, Francis Reid, have a deep conversation about what the house's purpose is. But things take a deadly turn when the workers find something hunting them in the basement of the house... What has the house uncaged?
If you are looking for a quick scare book then I’m sorry this isn’t for you. If you like reading books that build mystery, make you think and more than a bit uneasy, kind of nervousness I would say, then this is for you. The Winchester House was a project that never stopped as long as Sarah was alive and that it was filled with spirits who would become trapped and in addition anyone who died on the property, and there were quite a few who did, they too would be trapped within the house and grounds is something that is infamous about the property. The respect in how this is being told by Joshua is amazing to me and I’m loving seeing this unfold before us.
I’m a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a marvellous job in continuing to flesh out the characters' personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story it manages to entrance and enthral the reader.
I am very much liking the way that we see this being structured and how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I’m also liking the way that we see the layers opening up new avenues to be explored, rerouting entries or blocking others off for example. What these do is add some great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably handled.
The interiors here are absolutely lovely! First and foremost the house is a character in the story, the biggest and main one as well actually and while we get a lot of good shots of it it should be featured in every panel where they are inside. Just my opinion. Still the use of backgrounds that we see and how they expand and enhance the moments are beautifully rendered. The linework and how the varying weights and techniques are utilised to bring the characters to life is extraordinary to see. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkable eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a stellar understanding of how colour works.
While we have yet to really become connected to any of the characters, including Sarah and Marion, the way this is being told and how the house is being built is where the mystery really lies. The book is shrouded in mystery, an enigma to those building it and a fascination for the reader because you don’t know why this is happening. All told this has some spectacular writing, with interesting characterisation and some mighty fine interiors bringing it all to life.