Daphne Byrne issue 1

Daphne Byrne issue 1

DC black label joe hill presents hill house comics

Writer: Laura Marks

Art: Kelley jones

Colours: Michelle Madsen

Letters: Rob Leigh

Cover: Piotr Jablonski


Daphne Byrne is a sad little girl

In the gaslit splendour of late 19th-century New York, rage builds inside 14-year-old Daphne. The sudden death of her father has left her alone with her irresponsible, grief-stricken mother who becomes easy prey for a group of occultists promising to contact her dead husband. Daphne begins to sense a strange, insidious presence in her own body…an entity with unspeakable appetites. What does “Brother” want? And could she even stop him if she tried?

interior daphne byrne issue 1

A slow Byrne

Daphne is an interesting character, there is a quiet and dark rage building inside of her. She is treated poorly by other children, still reeling from the death of her father, Daphne clearly feels very lost and alone. 

The first issue does not reveal very much, there is some minor exposition and I am hopeful the series picks up from this somewhat slow start. It is clear that Marks is a confident writer. Who has set up Daphne feeling almost inaccessible to the reader, the end wraps the reader in so much mystery and we start to ask more questions.

Laura Marks writes an interesting brand of horror. It is so steeped in a Victoriana gothic style, the shame she instils in her characters, the exile and the isolation. Lends itself perfectly to this quiet, sinister horror tale.

A somewhat slow start, which is not necessarily a bad thing, some of the best horrors sneak and creep. But, this slow-burn won’t be to everyone’s taste.

interior daphne byrne issue 1

Conflicted art

The cover had me swooning the moment I got eyes on it last year from the DC press list. The art style is not a style I particularly love. In my opinion, I found it difficult to follow along with the panels, faces merging with one another.

However, where the people left me a little wanting, the monsters were spot on, I picked up some real classic horror vibes with a bit of an HR Geiger style composition.

Where will the series take us?

Daphne Byrne is a series that feels more suited to a particular brand of horror fan. Its lack of overt action will not be to everyone taste but there are a lot of positives that can be taken away from this issue.

Want more comic book reviews? Canopus Issue 1 | Tales From Harrow County- Cullen Bun and Tyler Crook Dark Horse Comics

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