REVIEW: ‘Ithaqa,’ Issues #3-4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ithaqa - But Why Tho

Ithaqa #3-4 continues the self-published comic written by Michael Watson, illustrated by Theresa Chiechi, lettered by Lucas Gattoni, and edited by Lisa Villamil. Picking up where the first two issues left off, these next issues continue the story of Mookie Smitts and his makeshift film crew as they encounter The Church of Flickering Ascension—the mysterious organization which seeks to destroy the very concept of time itself. Meanwhile, soldier Harvey Bolton tracks down jazz singer Rosie Jones, who turns out to have an answer for the eldritch horrors he experienced in his youth.

While the first two issues were mostly concerned with setting up the plot and characters, these issues dive full-tilt into Lovecraftian madness—and the series becomes all the better for it. The Church of Flickering Ascension is able to summon living shadows that infect their victims, which Chiechi draws in gruesome detail. The shadows feel like they’re actually alive, crawling along the edges of the page and extending tendrils that seem to leap out at the reader. Gattoni gives the Church’s members twisting word balloons that seem to be made entirely out of smoke, which only adds to the horror factor.

But that isn’t the only time that Chiechi pushes her artwork. A sequence in Ithaqa #3 has a page that literally flips itself inside out, as if the reader was staring in a mirror. Another sequence in Ithaqua #4 sees the art growing more distorted as Harvey and Rosie travel through time. Colors shift, the panels take different shapes (or cease to exist) and Harvey’s eyes start leaking a black liquid. If I had to describe this sequence in susinctly it would be “Salvador Dali meets James Wan.” But the cherry on top has to be a shadowy creature that the Church summons in a ritual. It’s covered from head to toe in a ragged black cloak, with multiple bone white arms that reach out to grab and dismember its victims.

When it comes to the story, Watson starts to peel back the layers on the Church’s mission as well as Harvey’s quest for answers. Ithaqa #3 starts in media res, with nurse Ruth Addler recounting the events she witnessed to a reporter. But the real meat of the story lies in Ithaqa #4, as Harvey and Rosie travel through time. Harvey seeks answers—and potentially revenge—for what happened to him, while Rosie seeks to sever the curse that church member Rupert Saxton has placed upon her. The bond between the two is significant on many levels. Both of them are dealing with the trauma Saxton visited upon them as well as their own trauma from war and racism. Good comics have story that works in tandem with the art, and vice versa. Ithaqa reaches that level with these two issues.

Ithaqa #3-4 ups the stakes of the supernatural comic, unveiling more of the underlying mystery while also delivering mind-melting artwork. If you love horror, mystery, or are looking to spice up your comics pull list I highly suggest that you back the series Kickstarter.  I, for one, am happy to read as much of this story as the creative team is willing to give us.

Ithaqa #3 is currently available to purchase on the comic’s official website, while Ithaqa #4 and Ithaqa #5 are available to back via Kickstarter.


Ithaqa #3-4
4.5

TL;DR

Ithaqa #3-4 ups the stakes of the supernatural comic, unveiling more of the underlying mystery while also delivering mind-melting artwork. If you love horror, mystery, or are looking to spice up your comics pull list I highly suggest that you back the series Kickstarter.  I, for one, am happy to read as much of this story as the creative team is willing to give us.