Castle Full Of Blackbirds – Mike Mignola, Angela Slatter, Valeria Burzo & Michelle Madsen (Dark Horse Comics)

I can’t be the only person in the room who always fixates on that strange old nursery rhyme about baking and pies whenever he hears the word blackbird, can I? At least I hope I’m not…And after that brief interlude, it’s time to address the business in hand, Castle Full Of Blackbirds, or as I’ve come to refer to it, The Continuing Adventures of Sara May Blackburn. This slow burning, delightfully creepy tale of a young witch following her “mentor” to, and seeking her fortune in, the big city is crammed full of odd characters, all of whom are being pulled in all manner of different directions by a multitude of motivational forces, none of which are as they seem or happen to be particuarly morally chaste. And this story of gradual reveals and peeks behind the ever darkening curtain that shrouds Sara’s destiny will keep you guessing right up until the final page and the very last panel.

If Mignola and Slatter has been allowed to reboot Sabrina, this is the show that we would have got, a dark, twisted spin on the young witch coming of age and discovering who she is fable that riffs on, and takes inspiration from countless myths, legends and folktales and repackages them for the horror hungry geeks of the twenty first century who yearn for something far more substantial than mainstream literature and cinema could ever deliver. And Castle Full Of Blackbirds, satiates that yearning and then some, and with its art that harks back to a better, bygone silver age of comics, over delivers on every single front. It is simply magnificent. Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie… Tim Cundle

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