Review: The Conjuring: The Lover #3
The Conjuring: The Lover #3 has finally put its main character, Jessica, on a straight path to the source of her haunting, and things are getting diabolically tense. The third entry of this horror series seems to be eyeing its endgame quite closely and is thus moving its pieces towards a terrifying finale where evil might actually prevail should Jessica not find a way to rid herself of the mysterious Satanist behind it all.
The Lover has been an immensely fun ride. It thrives on a sense of claustrophobia by keeping the focus close on Jessica and how the thing that’s haunting her further isolates her from friends and any chance of complete salvation from the situation. Issue #3 ramps up the haunting, isolating the character to the point of constant oppression, tricking her friends into believing her behavior stems from good old-fashioned madness.
In this sense, the story reminds me even more of the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), in which a female college student struggles with behavior that her family thinks can be attributed to demonic possession when the evidence more directly points to mental illness (based on the true case of Annaliese Michel, who underwent 67 Catholic rites of exorcism that ultimately led to her death).
While the comic leaves less space open to interpretation as to the origin of Jessica’s haunting, it nonetheless resorts to similar storytelling elements to show just how this haunting disconnects someone from the world. It’s been a steady build to this since issue #1 and it’s paying off quite well here.
Garry Brown’s art is especially effective in portraying Jessica’s own sense of dread as she gets pulled away from the people that can help her the most by the person enacting the horror that’s latched on to her. Each panel feels claustrophobic, enclosing Jessica deeper within her environment. At points, it feels as if the panels themselves are attacking the character, pushing into even more uncomfortable spaces.
As has been the case in the previous two entries, this issue contains a back-up story featuring a haunted item from the Warren’s Artifact Room, and this issue’s tale might be it’s best yet. It looks at the now infamous Accordion Monkey and it’s written by Tim Seely with art by horror master Kelley Jones and colors by Jordie Bellaire.
It’s a tale that has a 1970’s horror vibe to it in that the inner workings of the haunted object contains a healthy dose of madness, violence, and insidiousness. The horror put on display has no qualms painting a bleak picture for those involved and it savors the idea that darkness tends to have a better chance at prevailing in cases such as this.
Seely’s script is tight and smartly gruesome when it needs to be, but Jones’ art is what seals the deal on this one. It’s a great reminder of why Jones deserves to be among the best horror illustrators in the business. It feels classic EC Horror to an extent, but it looks to be more than just an homage to horror’s past. It truly is a treat getting this story right after a solid entry of The Lover.
Things aren’t looking so good for Jessica and the next issue is shaping up to be an intense encounter with the dark forces that have decided to torment her. We can only hope the Warrens make a surprise appearance to save the day, but the way things are going, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the case.
Story: David L. Johnson-McGoldrick & Rex Ogle, Art: Garry Brown Color: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and always have a friend that believes you see ghosts.