Words by: Laura Marks
Art by: Kelly Jones
Colors by: Michelle Madsen
Letters by: Rob Leigh
Daphne Byrne takes place in Victorian era New York, which is a nice departure from the typical London setting. Alas, that was its only departure from the redundant ghost stories dealing with spirits. This isn’t a slight against it, just an observation as most readers will feel the same way. One of the major factors that places the book apart from other stories is how typical roles are reversed. This allows the story to take a more menacing tone.
Daphne and her mother are left, when Mr. Byrne passed away. Most of the time it’s the child that falls for the tricks of mediums and outside sources but in this one, the mother invites the horrors into the Byrne household. This allows the story to keep that original spark and evolve into the affinity that the spirits have towards the Byrne family.
Marks is creating a world that blends Victorian New York with supernatural horrors. Setting it in a location that is not normally associated with the genre allows for a new type of story that moves away from the London influence. She also writes her characters in a way that shows them demonstrate great skills with some flaws. Mixing all these builds upon a foundation that will allow the story to develop into a unique horror comic.
Jones art is able to keep pace with the frantic twists and turns of the story. Being able to blend the different themes on the page gives the reader a snippet of the story they are about to head into. There are times when the art feels hastily put together or the human anatomy is out of place. These flaws are meant to be overlocked or go unnoticed with some of the darker themes to the panel.
Overall, all Daphne Byrne is a strong continuation in the Hill House Comics line. It does have a balancing act that is going to demonstrate the characters descent into madness or just being straightforward with the storyline. The setting and the characters that are in play so far are very well developed, which is something rare to be seen in first releases.