Volume 4 includes issues 16-20. Written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera, colored by Miquel Muerto, lettered by Andworld Design, published by Boom Studios.
After reading volume three just the other day I couldn’t wait to get into volume four. This series is incredible and this volume is the best so far. This part of the series takes us years into the past, to when Erica first meets monsters and joins the House of Slaughter.
No matter what anyone expected of this series or where it went next or even what was the best moment so far I think this volume supersedes all of that. Erica went through hell and is now here to maybe go through more, and went through even worse before we met her. This volume takes readers inside the hierarchy – the history of the House – and it is far more detailed and interesting than just a few people in masks. This is world spanning and centuries spanning. This is the strings behind the world, the things that bump back at the things that go bump in the night.
Erica is already becoming an icon in comics and horror but to see how she got there will put her into a new tier of status within the comic loving community. She’s a warrior from the start, she doesn’t give up, she’s smart and maybe, maybe, there’s something else buried deep within.
It is a point I go to a lot but has to be repeated, characters mean more when we learn more about them. Those that complain nothing happens in the walking dead because they want death and gore in every issue are wrong. No one is going to care if a character dies when the readers don’t care about the character. Likewise this volume tells so much about Erica’s past and how she became who she is today. She’s not just a monster hunter now. She’s a kid who went through a horrible tragedy and now grew up in this world. She’s an enigma to them. Rough around the edges but also the strongest there is. And maybe even more than that. She’s not necessarily the chosen one but she’s the one to watch, the game changer, the course alterer. While she was already cool in the earlier issues this changes the entire story.
It also opens up the entire world. The business and logistics and technical sides to hunting monsters. The legend of St George and the Dragon. The ones wearing green masks. Oh, those masks.
Now it may be because I’m also reading graphic novels for the Department of Truth at the same time, or because of the writer, but the parallels between the series are amazing. What is real, what we create, what we can perceive in the world, and how we deal with those thoughts. Those constructs. Those monsters. We’ve heard the phrase fake news for years but these books open my mind to fake reality. What is truly out there and do I actually want to know. Once I’ve entered the house can I leave? Would I be able to pass the tests now as an adult that a 12 year old conquered? All of this makes Erica and this comic so amazing and beloved.
I’m debating putting this next to Saga as one of the preeminent comics for current day. The comics that will be collected and considered the best of the genre. All time top lists. The kind of book that when an outsider says how do I get into comics, you hand them volume one and say get ready for the ride. Seriously, head to your local bookstore, call up your local comic shop, and get reading this now. Hell, read everything by Tynion. We may not be able to see the monsters, but that doesn’t mean any of us should be skipping out on the stories.