Issue by Issue – Doorwary to Nightmare #4

Writer – Catherine B. Andrews, Stuart Hopen
Artist – Johnny Craig
Colours – Adrienne Roy
Letters – John Workman, Jr.

A new creative team and a new story invite readers to take another step through a doorway to nightmare and this time it involves that which horror has explored many a time throughout film and literature – ancient Egypt. More specifically, this tale does take place in the present and its subject is a police detective who is called to a break-in that happened at a museum and one that seems to have been targeted to a mummy of the Princess Morea and her demon guardian. Somehow, this leads him to a small fortune teller’s shop and to a woman named Madame Xanadu, a woman who possesses an ancient lamp exactly like the ones that were stolen at the museum. Authors Catherine B. Andrews and Stuart Hopen, along with artist Johnny Craig, do a great job at setting a slightly eerie tone to it all and painting this gothic horror/gothic romance as one that is doomed but with Madame Xanadu being involved, one has to know that no end is going to be set in stone. For the moment, the detective is doing his thing and investigating all aspects of the case including the involvement of a young woman who has a weird scar on her left wrist, much like the long-dead Princess Morea. Readers soon learn that the princess is looking to gain a new body after all the long centuries and that the stolen artifacts and this young woman will help her to do just that. So it is that horror awakens, love is struck and Xanadu who knows more than she is telling finally gets involved just before tragedy and Morea are about to strike. The book plays out beautifully, Craig’s pencils making it look amazing and enchanting, taking the reader on a ride that they do not want to stop while the writers of this tale do their best to make it as compelling as possible which they do quite well. Sure, there was nothing overly amazing or innovative about the contents of this story but they would do a great job of it overall, proving that one does not necessarily need new material to make readers tune in, merely well-told material that they might enjoy and this was definitely that. As for Madame Xanadu, she remains a mystery as ever and frankly, maybe it is better that way.

4 out of 5

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