Advance Review: Our Murderous ‘Hero’ Continues To Unravel In Fearscape #4

by Oliver MacNamee

Unreliable narrator? Henry Henry isn’t even a reliable witness to murder by this point in this saga. A murder he committed against the Muse. Has he therefore killed any hope of originality then in himself? Is he now beginning to realise his own shortcomings? Or, will he once again try and re-write reality?

Fearscape #4 sees our ‘hero’ beginning to unravel and try to excuse himself by weaving even further fictions to wiggle out of yet another tight fix. Whether out of nerves, or in his attempt to become an established author, Henry’s purple prose goes into overdrive, to some extent to annoy us the readers going as far as to claim we are complicit in his crimes. He even tries to persuade himself that the Muse is not the real victim in this! Talk about self deluded. By the time he starts mangling Macbeth, you have to begin wondering how much of the original man is left. He certainly seems to be imbuing the same egotistical blindness Macbeth himself suffers from after the assassination of Duncan and the draining away of any conscience that the Thane of Cawdor had left. And making up excuses and falsehoods – again, like Macbeth – to try and cover up his actions and their consequences. By the end of the book, he seems to be equally lost and ready to do the unthinkable. Is he even his own man any longer, or a patchwork of plagiarism fighting against the bars of his own narrative?

Ryan O’Sullivan creates an issue full of tension and fizzing with nerves and danger that adds to the quicker, more frantic pacing of the issue as Henry Henry rails against his fate. A fate only O’Sullivan can give him. Henry Henry is capable of anything, it would seem, and his silver tongue does just enough to save him. For now. But, this is the Fearscape, and Henry is certainly living in this waking nightmare, which is so ethereally captured in the combined artwork of Andrea Mutti’s pencil-like art, and Vladimir Popov’s watercolour-like colours. It creates the perfect, dream-like tone for this book. Or, rather, a nightmare feel.

Henry is standing on the abyss gazing in, and the abyss seems to be gazing back too, ready to envelope him and claim him for itself. If it hasn’t done so already.

Fearscape #4 is out February 13th from Vault Comics.

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