REVIEW: ‘Daphne Byrne,’ Issue #3 (of 6)

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Daphne Byrne #3

Daphne Byrne, written by Laura Marks, with art by Kelley Jones, colors by Michelle Madsen, and letters by Rob Leigh, is 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 #3 picks up where after the last issue with Daphne getting closer to the evil “brother” that has followed her from her dreams.

While he showed Daphne the horrors just laying beneath the surface of the world, the darkness of that world Daphne is now seeing fits her story. Over the last two issues, Daphne’s position as an outsider has been established and the once tormented girl is becoming a tormentor herself, even if she doesn’t mean it or quite understand how it’s happening. In Daphne Byrne #3, the spirit she calls brother is continuing to taunt her, push her towards darkness and a romance? – the latter of which is very out of sorts given his title as Brother. But beyond that, this issue heightens the tension between Daphne and the way her mother is being exploited by the spiritualists. Daphne may have a lead on someone who can unravel the con she believes is being played on her mother, but she may be too late to save her mother.

Daphne Byrne #3

There isn’t much to say about Daphne Byrne #3 other than that Marks’ story surpasses Jone’s art and Madsen’s muddy colors. Despite the questionable sexual tension she is building between this young woman who is coming of age and Brother, there is a core story that is encapsulating the spiritualist era. That said, the art just distracts me from the overall focus of the story. It’s dark, and the shadowing is never consistent from panel to panel. I am one hundred and ten percent a person who appreciates good pulp horror, but this isn’t it.

Of the Hill House Comic’s line-up, Daphne Byrne is the weakest. An interesting start has fizzled out now that it’s mid-way through its six-issue run and I’m unsure if I want to continue reading it. While Daphne Byrne #3 ends on a cliffhanger of sorts that offers up a darker and more occult path in the narrative, it still hasn’t sold me. But while the muddy palette may not do any favors for the art, when creatures are illustrated they hit hard and are executed well both in illustration and coloring. This shows that both Jones and Madsen are capable of compelling, horrific, and interesting art when they’re not focusing on shadowed and twisted faces.  Daphne Byrne #3 leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m not sure if it’s the series I want more from or if I’m just waiting for the next issues of other Hill House Comics titles.

Daphne Byrne #3 is available wherever comics are sold.

Daphne Byrne #3
2.5

TL;DR

Of the Hill House Comic’s line-up, Daphne Byrne is the weakest. An interesting start has fizzled out now that it’s mid-way through its six-issue run and I’m unsure if I want to continue reading it. While Daphne Byrne #3 ends on a cliffhanger of sorts that offers up a darker and more occult path in the narrative, it still hasn’t sold me.