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Preview: DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #5

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #5

Written by: Rex Ogle, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Art by: Dave Johnson, , Garry Brown

The fear-soaked finale! Manipulated by the Occultist, Jessica has done the unthinkable and murdered her best friend, but her torments are far from over. Then, in our final terrifying trip into the haunted artifact room, Domo Stanton tells the heart-stopping tale of the Occultist’s Chalice!

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #5

Review: The Conjuring: The Lover #4

The Conjuring: The Lover #4

The Conjuring: The Lover is reaching its end and its fourth and penultimate instalment puts main character Jessica in the worst possible spot for the devil to do his dirty work. I use ‘devil’ here metaphorically as the comic does have an actual living agent of evil that’s orchestrating the haunting of Jessica’s life and turning her into a tragic victim of satanic power. Watching the third movie of The Conjuring universe, subtitled “The Devil Made Me Do It,” sheds more light on this, making this a great prologue/companion piece to it.

Writers David L. Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle along with Garry Brown on art have already crafted an oppressive and dread-filled environment for Jessica to traverse in, and not to her benefit. Her college life hangs in the balance and last issue’s cliffhangers will seal the deal on that front. If The Lover can be boiled down to a fight for Jessica’s soul, this issue sets up the knockout punch.

The evil that’s operating behind the scenes is making its biggest moves here and all roads lead to oblivion. It makes for a tough read as the main character is basically being tortured at an existential level with no hope of things getting better in sight. This doesn’t mean the story is banking on pain for the sake of it, but I’m curious to see what all this emotional suffering is leading up to in the coming final issue.

The Lover #4’s faux horror ads are still a highlight, this time bringing in some familiar demons into the ghoulish fun. It pays off to be a fan of the Conjuring universe here. There’s a lot to look through and artist Dave Johnson looks like he’s thoroughly enjoying putting them together along with Johnson-McGoldrick, who writes the ads.

The Conjuring: The Lover #4

This entry’s back-up story, from the Warren’s haunted artifact room, comes courtesy of Ray Fawkes and Christopher Mitten and it puts the spotlight square on the strange music box from the first Conjuring movie. It’s a quick but fierce punch of a story that manages to pull as much horror from the music box as possible. The setup is instantly identifiable, but it adds different levels to its mystery to make it a darkly profound story that aims to deceive.

The Conjuring: The Lover has managed to maintain a formidable degree of terror throughout the series and it looks like the finale will leave an impression, or a bloody handprint, once it closes shop. We might need to get used to the idea that sometimes evil can have its way and that we are powerless to stop it. Scary thought, huh.

Story: David L. Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle, Art: Garry Brown
Colors: Mike Spicer, Letterer: Becca Carey
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Read with a bottle of holy water nearby

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.


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Preview: Superman: Red & Blue #6

Superman: Red & Blue #6

Written by: Rex Ogle, Tom King, Matt Wagner, Sophie Campbell
Art by: Mike Norton, Paolo Rivera, Matt Wagner, Sophie Campbell

It’s the final issue of this free-form anthology, featuring the Metropolis Marvel in new stories, bedazzled in his signature colors. It’s the only place to see Superman chasing down headlines in a classic style and taking pause to reflect on growing up on a farm in Smallville. Not to mention, the return of Streaky the Supercat by superstar cartoonist Sophie Campbell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)!

Superman: Red & Blue #6

Preview: Superman: Red & Blue #6

Superman: Red & Blue #6

Written by: Rex Ogle, Tom King, Matt Wagner, Sophie Campbell
Art by: Mike Norton, Paolo Rivera, Matt Wagner, Sophie Campbell

It’s the final issue of this free-form anthology, featuring the Metropolis Marvel in new stories, bedazzled in his signature colors. It’s the only place to see Superman chasing down headlines in a classic style and taking pause to reflect on growing up on a farm in Smallville. Not to mention, the return of Streaky the Supercat by superstar cartoonist Sophie Campbell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)!

Superman: Red & Blue #6

Review: The Conjuring: The Lover #3

The Conjuring: The Lover #3
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.

The Conjuring: The Lover #3
The Conjuring: The Lover #3

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.

The Conjuring: The Lover #3
The Conjuring: The Lover #3

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.


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Preview: DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #3

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #3

Written by: Tim Seeley, Rex Ogle, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Art by: Kelley Jones, Garry Brown, Dave Johnson

Jessica’s dizzying descent into madness continues as she finds herself dealing with an act of violence she has no recollection of committing. To make matters worse, a crushing sense of isolation and paranoia drives her to the brink. Now, nearing emotional collapse, Jessica finds herself coming to terms with the terrifying reality that these ever-worsening events may not be the product of her deteriorating psyche, but of something else…something inhuman. Then, join us for a third terror-inducing tour of the Warrens’ haunted artifact museum and witness the spine-tingling origin of the accordion monkey by the dream team of Tim Seeley and Kelley Jones!

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #3

Preview: DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #2

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #2

Written by: Rex Ogle, Che Grayson, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Art by: Dave Johnson, Garry Brown, Juan Ferreyra

Jessica’s life begins to take a turn for the terrifying as she finds herself experiencing increasingly disturbing events at her college. Most troubling of all, she begins to suspect that the phenomena she’s experiencing could have an unsettling origin-her own psyche. Plus, Che Grayson and Juan Ferreyra bring you another trip into the Warrens’ haunted artifact room for a double dose of dread!

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #2

The Conjuring: The Lover #1 Scares Up a Second Printing

The Conjuring: The Lover #1DC Horror’s terrifying tie-in to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (available to watch now on HBO Max!) has terrified fans and critics alike. The spooky summer hit, written by David L. Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle, with art by Garry Brown, has gone into a second printing and will be back in stores July 13th with a new variant cover from artist Garry Brown.

And Conjuring fans won’t want to miss the back-up story from writer Scott Snyder and artist Denys Cowan, “Tales From The Artifact Museum: The Ferryman.” Each of the five issues in The Conjuring: The Lover’s run dives into the mysteries of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s haunted artifact room.

The Conjuring: The Lover expands the tragic story of Jessica, a college freshman returning to campus after winter break who soon comes to realize that something evil has made her its target, and it will not rest until it has her in its unholy grip. The Conjuring: The Lover is a fantastic expansion on the lore and universe of New Line and Warner Bros. The Conjuring franchise, and a love letter to horror pulps.

Read our review of the first issue.

The Conjuring: The Lover #1

Review: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

The Conjuring: The Lover #1
The Conjuring: The Lover #1

The closest thing Horror has to a Marvel Universe, as of the time of this writing, is The Conjuring universe. It’s a fascinating development, how a horror franchise that claims to be based on true events has carved a space for itself in the crowded shared universe arena. From Annabelle to The Nun, each film adds to the number of evil entities that inhabit its world while showing how they can later influence future hauntings. Naturally, each new nightmare requires its own story, a circumstance that led to the horror series’ first foray into comics in the form of The Conjuring: The Lover.

Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle, with Garry Brown (Babyteeth) on art, The Conjuring: The Lover #1 follows a college student named Jessica that is struggling to make her college grades match her mother’s expectations while also dealing with romantic frustrations, loneliness, and a dark entity that’s taken an interest in her. Clearly, Jessica isn’t having much fun in college.

Whether it’s an actual person conjuring evil spirits to oppress Jessica or an inhuman thing out to make her suffer remains to be seen, but the comic captures that sense of dread horror can excel at by presenting Jessica as an already conflicted character that’s ripe for the taking by someone or something that wants to corrupt her.

The script is smart enough to pace the scares out accordingly, without leaning too heavy on the terror in this first issue. There’s the promise of paranormal activity, but just what it is that’s lurking in the shadows isn’t revealed yet and it makes for a more engrossing read. It helps that Jessica’s own personal demons are ever-present as well. Her fears and anxieties feed into the atmosphere the comic creates and offers a kind of hint as to what will latch onto her very being.

Garry Brown’s pencils prove to be adept at capturing the finer details in horror so as to allow the power of suggestion to guide readers into filling in the dark spaces. It invites close inspection of the comics page. I was always on the lookout for a ghost hand creeping around a corner or a set of yellow eyes dimly glowing deep within the shadows. Brown is flexing all the right muscles here and is letting everyone know he can do horror with the best of them.

The Conjuring: The Lover #1

The Conjuring: The Lover #1 also includes a back-up story written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Denys Cowan centered on one of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s old cases, titled “The Ferryman.” It’s a brief but well executed homage to classic horror that follows a boy that steals a coin from the corpse of an old woman during a funeral service. By violating the unwritten rules of an ancient practice that secures a dead person’s passage into the afterlife, the character goes through the motions of a lifelong haunting that stands as a lesson to readers on the dangers of messing with the business of the dead.

And then there are the short fake ads for haunted and possessed items. They resemble the ads found in old horror magazines, but they’re given here a darkly comedic twist in which the punchline lies not just in the sales pitch but also in the fine print. They’re illustrated by Dave Johnson and are so fun to read that I wish Johnson would make an entire book based on these fake ads.

The Conjuring universe has a very successful first outing in its hands with “The Lover.” It comes off as an organic extension of the franchise and its own brand of horror. There’s a lot to look forward to in each issue knowing just how much is squeezed into one comic. It’s quite the horror package and it feels as if it can’t wait to show us even more terrible things for our viewing pleasure.

Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Rex Ogle, Scott Snyder
Art: Garry Brown, Denys Cowan, Dave Johnson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy and pray that demon Nun doesn’t go to the same church as you do.


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

The Conjuring: The Lover #1

Preview: DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

Written by: Rex Ogle, Scott Snyder, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Art by: Denys Cowan, Garry Brown, Dave Johnson

The terrifying debut of the tie-in to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It begins here, with a story that’s bursting at the seams with clues about the new film. Meet Jessica. Jessica just returned to her freshman year of college after winter break, bringing with her the anxieties of last semester’s poor grades, the awkwardness of facing a boy she wishes she’d never slept with, and an undeniably unnerving feeling of being watched. She soon comes to realize that something evil made her its target, and it will not rest until it has her in its unholy grip. But why did this sinister presence set its sights on a seemingly normal college freshman? Read this nerve-racking tale, creepily crafted by Conjuring screenwriter David L. Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle with heart-stopping art from Garry Brown and chill-inducing covers by Bill Sienkiewicz, to find out!

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1
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