With the set-up out of the way, writer/artist Richard Corben unleashes his talents in “Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher” #2. The surrealistic artwork drives the Gothic horror to a whole new level. It’s amazing how Poe’s eloquent prose translates so well into the comic book medium.
WRITTEN BY: Richard Corben
ART BY: Richard Corben
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: June 19th, 2013
Allan is trapped inside a haunted house that wants to kill him. A growing and luminous fog has surrounded the haunted Usher mansion. Unable to see through the fog, Allan finds himself drawn to the mystery of the Usher siblings. Why is Roderick trying to bury his sister, Madeline, alive inside a coffin? During the night, the dead are rising from the graveyard all of a sudden. In loud knocks, their rotten hands are beating down the front door. Will Allan be able to save himself or will the dead drag him straight to Hell?
In Corben’s adaptation, the unnamed narrator finally has something to do. If you read the source material before, the narrator has more of a role as an observer. He’s telling you, the reader, what’s going on in the story. Allan is more of an active participant, unafraid to get his hands dirty. This guy is ready to kick butt when he needs to. I was totally surprised at how Corben gave his protagonist a strictly no-nonsense personality and a take-charge attitude. Allan has a fight scene that isn’t in the original story and it works so well here.
Corben cleverly finds a way to deliver two endings for his readers. The first ending is completely original and it involves zombies. The second ending is right from the text and Corben spectacularly illustrates every moment of it. Corben captures the pouring rainstorm and the destruction of the Usher mansion perfectly in a big panel.
There is an ick-factor that flows within Corben’s drawings. Part of the narrative focuses on the incestuous relationship between Roderick and Madeline. In the previous issue, the theme was suggested more as Roderick’s perversion of sexual dominance. Corben doesn’t hold back as Roderick plays out his sexual fantasies on Madeline. Adding to the straight-up creepiness, the character designs of the Usher siblings makes them look like twins.
What I remember most about Poe’s tale is the over-the-top ending. When I read the tale in eighth grade, I thought the ending was like an action sequence gone horribly wrong. It’s an impressive display how Corben structures the conclusion. Corben is able to stay true to the text, while keeping Allan sidelined as both an observant/participant during the collapse.
In “Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher” #2, writer/artist Richard Corben delivers another truly terrifying adaptation. I can’t wait to see which of Poe’s macabre tales Corben does next. I’m gunning for “Murders In The Rue Morgue”.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis