Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird #1 Review

Dark Horse has a new series coming in December, Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird, that has the genre-expanding style you’ve come to expect from one of the top five publishers in the industry. This promises a hard-boiled southern crime drama mixed with a little of the supernatural.

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Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The BirdAlabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird #1

Caitlín R. Kiernan (W)
Daniel Warren Johnson (A)
Greg Ruth (Cover)
On sale December 9, FOC November 16

“Kiernan is the poet and the bard of the wasted and the lost.”—Neil Gaiman

A new evil haunts the sun-scorched back roads and ghost towns of the American South—murderous twins who command a legion of ghouls. Once again, Dancy Flammarion must face down demons: both those who walk the world unchallenged and those in her own shattered mind.

Preview:

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Review:

Alabaster is full of religious imagery, and it colors the entire book. Even the talk between criminals is done in the shadow of some serious religious torment. Caitlin Kiernan does an admirable job of carrying the story, but the location being in the south doesn’t seem necessary to the story. Kiernan spent much of her youth in Alabama, so her depiction of it works very well, but again, it doesn’t seem to need to be set in the south. Perhaps later issues will make this clear. However, I’m growing very tired of waiting for the next issue to clear up things that could have been established in the very beginning.

The artwork is good, but it’s really where this does not feel like the south. The colors are very natural and don’t give a sense of atmosphere. Perhaps it’s in the fact that so much of the action takes place in a stark white supernatural realm. The scenes in the real world feel generic and not at all genuine.

Comparisons will be made to Southern Bastards, and it shouldn’t be, because the story of Southern Bastards is so rooted in reality that a story that adds so heavy a supernatural tone can’t be an honest comparison. On its own merits Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird feels like it needs another issue’s worth of pages to firmly set the stage in a way that it can be judged for what it actually is.