At their core, the movies from The Conjuring universe carry a palpable sense of tragedy through characters being targeted by the demonic. The Conjuring: The Lover is not the exception and its fifth and final issue cements what might be the horror license at its bleakest. It commits to that sense of inevitability that comes with being cursed and it makes this last entry the series’ strongest.
The shunned and involuntarily isolated Jessica has blood on her hands and the Occultist knows it, seizing the opportunity to stick the final daggers in place for her final trick: assisted self-destruction. What makes the setup so engrossing though is how well the pieces that David Johnson-McGoldrick, Rex Ogle, and Garry Brown put together fall into place to amplify the true target of Jessica’s haunting.
Readers know by now that Jessica is a queer character that feels as if she needs to hide her own self to the world. As the horror mounts, she comes to be confronted on this front by the demonic powers of the Occultist, against her will and against her desire to fully express her reality. The Occultist preys on Jessica knowing her secret puts her in a spot that allows for easy social banishment once certain truths are pushed out into the open.
In a sense, The Lover’s haunting is made more powerful by the prejudice of others, a thing that nurtures the kind of dark energy that makes the Occultist stronger. In other words, it takes a village to haunt a person and the story makes sure readers are very aware of this as it comes to an end. The Lover is a meditation on that idea, plain and simple. Jessica’s fate hits harder because of this and the team behind the story knew how to tap into that particular kind of horror to produce a memorable finale.
The last backup story we get from The Warren’s haunted artifact room comes courtesy of Domo Stanton, who writes and illustrate it, and focuses on the Occultist’s Chalice. It’s a straightforward story about how an object imbued with dark intentions can influence those who grant it the power to indulge in it. It’s quick, to the point, and fun. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Conjuring: The Lover triumphs in demonstrating just how a movie’s universe can grow through comics if given the chance. I hope this isn’t a one-off and that we get more Conjuring series sooner rather than later. The source material is too good, and it’s undeniably eager to continue prodding into the things that stoke our fears.
Story: David Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle, Art: Garry Brown
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy and keep your peeled for those annoying devil worshippers.
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review