By Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, Luca Rossi , Ross Campbell, Lee Loughridge

Horror and mystery fans gather ’round, your book has arrived. After being canceled in 1983, DC’s flagship horror title makes its triumphant return. And while the House of Mystery never really disappeared off the radar (it played a role in many of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series), it has been too long since we’ve been without this series (and its brother title, House of Secrets). If you’ve never read an issue of House of Mystery have no fear. Because the dynamics and the format are for the most part completely different than the original series, you’ll have no problem getting into this book.

What immediately came to mind after finishing this issue was one of the later Sandman storylines called World’s End. That story featured a group of people trapped in an inn where stories from different walks of life and cultures were exchanged. House of Mystery’s premise is very similar in that manner. The house has disappeared from “reality” (I’m sure this will all be explained as the series goes on), and seems to be caught in a weird purgatory style dimension. Trapped in this house are a group of strangers – each from a wildly different dimension or time.

This first issue gives us the story of a woman who lived in a town infested with human-sized flies and how she fell in love with one of them. The story ain’t pretty – in fact it’s grotesque near the end – but it serves in many ways as a satire and analogy of sorts. I’m not going to go into what I took away from it, because it can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. No matter what you take away from it, on the surface it’s a chilling and disturbing story not for the weak-hearted. And that’s just the way I like it.

The art teams do an excellent job of translating the spooky atmosphere to the comic page (especially that creepy fly story), and the writing teams both turn in stellar scripts. There’s a bit of confusion involved with a few of the opening plots that may throw off some people, but I urge you to keep reading. As the issue progresses, things begin to unravel. And while you won’t get all your answers from this first offering, you will get just enough to make you come back next month. The industry needs more comics like this. Highly recommended. (Grade: A-)

– J. Montes

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