Review by Ian Keogh
Harrow County resident Emmy Crawford lived an innocent life with her father on the farm until her eighteenth birthday, when everything changed. Whether or not she genuinely believes she’s the reincarnation of a witch burned just before her birth may be irrelevant, but she’s learned there are dark things in the area. As seen in Countless Haints, she’s equally sure her intentions are good, and for the time being an accord has been reached with the local residents. Assorted ghosts and other strange creatures are collectively referred to as haints, and they obey her instructions.
Cullen Bunn writes Harrow County with a friendly narrative voice, as if someone’s telling a story around the fireplace, and for much of the series Tyler Crook applies a similar homely style to the art. Laying watercolour over pen and ink supplies some glorious locations, and for switching the tone all that’s required is a little more black. It’s a glorious, moody synthesis.
Countless Haints ended by showing us New York in the 1930s and a young woman in comfortable surroundings greatly resembling Emmy, who now comes to visit Harrow County. Kammi may resemble Emmy, but their personalities are very different, which greatly complicates life.
There’s a perfectly manufactured atmosphere about Harrow County, the clash of innocence and potential creating an ongoing tension, and here by Emmy having an object lesson on what could happen should she be ruled by desires. Two volumes in, this is already proving a well considered and immensely satisfying exploration of horror, and it continues in Snake Doctor.
This material is also found in an oversized hardcover format as Harrow County Volume One, and is part of the far bulkier first Harrow County Omnibus.