Count Crowley Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #4 – David Dastmalchian, Lukas Ketner, Lauren Affe & Frank Cvetkovic (Dark Horse Comics)


All good things must come to an end, even Count Crowley Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter. This fourth, and final, issue is, for the time being at least, Jerri Bartman’s curtain call. Having involuntarily become a small town horror host when every other professional door was slammed shut in her face and, in doing so, uncovered a world of supernatural fiends and creatures that exists in the shadows and at the edge of perception, Jerri finds, following a series of monstrously unfortunate events, herself at a personal and professional crossroads

She can either accept who she is or give in to the darkness and lose herself in a miasma of self-destruction, arrogance and pride and condemn everything, and everyone, she knows to the creatures of the night.  Jerri being Jerri, and among the last of a slowly dying breed of horror hosts, does the only thing she knows how to. She gets back on her feet, brushes herself off and squares up, ready to do battle with the uglier, dim witted step-cousin a hundred times removed of Frankenstein’s monster and the raging beast that’s been holding her back her entire life, herself.

Dastmalchian’s parting shot in this first arc of Count Crowley is a forceful and uncompromising lesson in acceptance. It is, ultimately, about facing your fears and conquering the demons that dragged you into, and introduced you to, the moorish and temporary delights of whatever pleasures you choose to mask and hide away from the pain and turmoil that controls your every waking action instead of attempting to deal with whatever it is that haunts you. Jerri’s ongoing conflict with the alcohol that she uses to drown the brutal experiences that govern her life are just as real as the monsters she has to fight in her new role as Count Crowley and by standing up to both, she at long last becomes the person she was always meant to be.

 It isn’t an easy read by any means, but this final, for now, chapter of the exploits of the Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter, that’s brought to wickedly delightful and frightfully gorgeous life by Lukas Ketner and Lauren Affe, is spellbinding and intoxicating and full of hidden depths and wonderfully geeky cultural and historic references. A testament to its creator’s ability to tell a riveting, duskily humorous and bewitching story, Count Crowley Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter has been one of the four colour highlights of the last twelve months and I can only hope that it returns sooner rather than later. As a famous ghost in the world’s premiere spook filled mansion is so fond of saying, “Hurry back…” Tim Cundle

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