I wasn’t sure what to expect from Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror: Season 2 #5 as far as the format or tone. That being said the issue includes five stories and the tone varies throughout. There are two stories loosely based on works by Edgar Allen Poe: “The Man That Was Used Up: A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign,” written and drawn by Rick Geary with colors from Andy Troy, and “Berenice,” written by Alisa Kwitney, with art by Mauricet and lettered by Rob Steen.
There are also two prose stories: “Keep Fit. Escape Hell,” written by Oscar Maltby with an illustration from Molly Stanard, and “Graven,” written by Steven Couch with an illustration from Cayetano Valenzuela. And finally a two-page comic strip, “Poe and the Cat” by Hunt Emerson.
In “The Man That Was Used Up” the narrator, portrayed as Poe, becomes fixated on a general named John A.B.C. Smith and begins to inquire about him. He can’t seem to get the information he would like from others, so goes to visit him, only to discover that the dashing, handsome general he saw around town, is not what (or how) he appeared to be. And in “Berenice” we are given the story of Egaeus, a man that is in love with his cousin Berenice and becomes fixated on her teeth.
The short story “Keep Fit. Escape Hell.” is a how-to guide on how to get yourself in shape if you want to escape from hell. In “Graven,” a young girl named Hailey creates art that if damaged can, in turn, hurt or destroy what it portrays. The comic strip “Poe and the Black Cat” is a humorous take on Poe’s short story “The Black Cat.” In the comic strip, the relationship between Poe and the cat is very much like the one between Tom and Jerry.
The variety of stories makes Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror: Season 2 #5 a decent read. But it might feel a bit slow especially in “The Man That Was Used Up” and “Berenice.” If you are familiar with Poe’s writing you know that the pacing in his stories is quite slow, and the creative teams transitioning his work into the comic book format take a similar approach. It’s not to say that the stories aren’t good though, the pacing works well for anyone that is a fan of Poe, or likes “slow burn” horror with a twist ending. And there is quite a twist at the end of “Berenice.”
I like the insertion of the two prose pieces. Maltby’s “Keep Fit. Escape Hell.” has a more humorous tone, which is something I think any fan of horror can appreciate. On the other hand, “Graven,” is eerie and builds up slowly to a feeling of dread for the reader after reading the last few lines.
Geary’s cartoonish art in “The Man That Was Used Up” worked well for a story that didn’t have a whole lot of action. Since it was mostly the narration and people talking, Geary did a good job of portraying facial expressions as the characters conversed with each other. Mauricet’s art in “Berenice” was more realistic and detailed. I especially liked one panel in particular where the reader is looking at Egaeus’ deranged face as he is about to start pulling out Berenice’s teeth. Since there wasn’t any talking in “Poe and the Black Cat” Emerson used plenty of panels with fight clouds to show his protagonists scuffling. But each fight cloud tended to be different, you will find one where it looks they are weapons on each other, in another, there are word balloons, but in place of words, there are images and symbols that represent the unflattering things they are most likely saying to each other. The art is reminiscent of the kind you would find in the Sunday comic strips. Emerson does well by inserting humor through sight gags in the panels and transitioning the action from one panel into the next, which is easy for the reader to track.
You do not need to be familiar with any of Poe’s work before reading this comic book. If you have read some Poe or took an American literature course you might catch something in the art that is specific to Poe’s background. For example at the opening of “Berenice,” Poe is leaning against a tombstone with the name “Virginia Clemm Poe,” who happens to be his former wife and cousin.
The nice thing about this series is that each issue is self-contained to the particular stories being told. As I mentioned earlier I wasn’t sure what to expect from Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror: Season 2 #5, but I did enjoy what was delivered. The main thing I like about this series is that it’s playing with the comic book format. Not only is the reader getting horror stories in comic book form, but they are also getting short stories and a comic strip all-packed into a 32-page issue. Aside from that, I also like that the tone varies throughout, it’s not just serious horror, we also get some humor.
Edgar Allen Poe's Snifter of Terror: Season 2 #5
In Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror: Season 2 #5, is the reader getting horror stories in comic book form, but they are also getting short stories and a comic strip all-packed into a 32-page issue. Aside from that, I also like that the tone varies throughout, it’s not just serious horror, we also get some humor.