The House of Lost Horizons: A Sarah Jewell Mystery #2 Review

by Nick Devonald on June 15, 2021

Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Leila Del Duca
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins

Following the discovery of another body at the conclusion of the last issue this issue really opens up the murder mystery storyline. A group of eclectic characters with differing motivations for being there, shut off from civilisation, with a killer amongst them and any number of supernatural elements littering the house. It’s a great recipe for an exciting tale, even before throwing in the fact it’s a part of the Mignolaverse and stars Sarah Jewell and Marie-Thérèse LaFleur. As the story unfolds it will no doubt contain some connection to Hellboys universe as we delve deeper into the mysteries.

Most of this issue concerns itself with learning a little more about the cast of characters who are currently populating the mansion. Each has some interest in the supernatural. But there are more mysteries than answers here, as every good mystery story should have, and will leave readers scratching their heads and trying to piece together the clues to figure out the bigger picture. There is also a name drop within the pages which will delight long time Hellboy fans. While this is set within the larger Hellboy universe the story is self contained enough that this will appeal to fans of murder mystery and no prior knowledge of Hellboys world is required. In fact it might make quite a good entry point, a sample of the different types of story contained within the Mignolaverse.

As all good murder mysteries should be the story is filled with misdirection, it’s written in such a way that multiple characters appear suspicious, the tension building as they are confronted, their secrets remaining just out of reach, until the next twist or revelation is revealed. While readers are sure to have their suspicions and theories at this stage the tale could truly go in any direction. Too many characters look suspicious, their only saving grace being that they all appear too obvious.

With a story like this one of the most important aspects is the cast of characters. Leila Del Duca does an excellent job of not only bringing them to life on the page but really capturing their expressions. The saying that a picture tells a thousand words is particularly apt when describing comics and in a story like this is even more relevant. The furtive glances, accusatory stares, horror and upset, they all serve to deepen the story and Del Duca does a lot of heavy lifting here with the storytelling. As various characters are confronted it’s down to the way she skilfully captures their faces that the tension in each scene noticeably increases until it’s almost palpable. Michelle Madsen does a great job with colours here. Unusually for the Mignolaverse this story isn’t filled with deep and foreboding characters, it’s a well lit mansion, and Madsen’s colours do an excellent job of capturing the brightly lit and tastefully decorated mansion.

The tension is beginning to ramp us as more mysteries are served to the reader. The cast of interesting characters each have their own secrets and motivations, and unravelling these as the story progresses will keep readers intrigued. Long time Hellboy fans will enjoy a tale in the universe which is quite different from any others, and it will be interesting to see it’s place in the grander scheme.

Our Score:


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