REVIEW: ‘Daphne Byrne,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Daphne Byrne #2

In Daphne Byrne, written by Laura Marks with art by Kelley Jones, colors by Michelle Madsen, and letters by Rob Leigh, we’ve got a gothic horror series from DC Comic’s horror imprint Hill House Comics. Rounding out the subgenres of horror on display in this imprint, this six-issue miniseries combines the occult, ghosts, seances, possession, and revenge. Daphne Byrne #2 picks up where the last issue left off.

In its debut issue, we were introduced to a young Daphne who, having just lost her father, is going through a lot. With bullies at school and a curiosity for science that no one seems to want to nurture, she now has to deal with her mother being taken advantage of by a Spiritualist who claims to speak to the departed patriarch in a seance. When Daphne makes a scene, asserting that the woman is lying, her mother is having none of it. The issue leaves us knowing that Daphne is alone, but also introduces us to a new face, a supernatural one that is set to invade the young girl’s life.

Daphne Byrne #2

Daphne Byrne #2 begins with Daphne awaking from her nightmare. Scared when she sees blood in her bed, she begins to worry about the reality of the supernatural, that is, until her Nonie arrives, letting her know that it’s just her “monthly humors” starting. This element, the fear Daphne shows, is extremely relatable and is a moment most will remember about their first “monthly humors.” While Daphne learns about her body, it also seems that the ritual in her dream has pulled the boy out. Remembering that her dad believed that dreams held some truth Daphne heads to the library to find an answer. But, the boy won’t leave her side. While she’s terrified at first, over the course of the issue, she becomes more comfortable.

This issue dives deeply into the coming-of-age tropes that horror loves. Often in the genre, a girl getting her period triggers graining like in Carrie or even Gretel & Hansel,  or physical changes like Ginger Snaps. In Daphne Byrne #2 we see this used to denote Daphne learning not just more about herself, but the supernatural reality that’s surrounding her, breaking her skepticism. With only six issues, this kind of story has a bit of heavy lifting to do, balancing the coming-of-age plot points with developing its horror world. That said, the way this issue ends is something that would have left a young goth, teenage me excited for more.

Daphne Byrne #2

That said, adult me is questioning how quickly Daphne gets over her fear and frustration with the spirit and moves to an almost close relationship with him. While this may be because of the pace that the book needs to move at, it’s slightly jarring. Additionally, while I am a fan of pulpy art, there are moments where the illustrations and colors change for the same character. In some moments, Daphne looks like a brown woman, in others, she is Victorian lily-white. Additionally, the illustration of the spirit that follows her out into the world looks different from appearance to appearance.

While I’m pulled into this story for its premise, Daphne Byrne #2’s other elements are distracting. That said, this isn’t a bad issue and I can definitely see future issues finding more of their footing as readers get more background information.

Daphne Byrne #2 is available wherever comic books are sold.

Daphne Byrne #2
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TL;DR

While I’m pulled into this story for its premise, Daphne Byrne #2’s other elements are distracting. That said, this isn’t a bad issue and I can definitely see future issues finding more of their footing as readers get more background information.