Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Book Review: House of Mystery Volume 1 - Room and Boredom

House of Mystery Vol. 01: Room and Boredom is basically a contrivance that allows DC to put out an anthology book of short stories but I like it.

Traditionally anthology books don't sell well in the comics medium. However, Vertigo has put on a few of their heavy hitters on to this book in hopes that it sells well. Teaming up on the writing duties are Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham who are the driving force behind the Fables universe. See my review of Fables Volume 1.

In House of Mystery the story opens up with Cain talking to his brother Able, yes that Cain and Able, before returning home one afternoon. Sadly upon Cain's return to his house he finds it is missing. Cain is distraught about the chain of events and vows to find his missing house. A quick note in DC continuity: Cain is the caretaker of the House of Mystery while Able is the caretaker of the House of Secrets.

We flip over to the house where we are introduced to the core concept of the book. People wander in and our of the house where they can enjoy the food and drink at the bar. However, money is no good at the house and you need to pay up by telling a story. This allows guest writers like Bill Willingham to step in and spend a few pages spinning a yarn about whatever he feels like at the moment.

There are five characters, the barman, the waitress, the poet, the pirate and the architect who cannot leave the House of Mystery. Whatever they try just drops them right back into the house. In fact the only way they seem to be able to leave the house is via the mysterious coachman. What happens to people who leave with the coachman is unknown to people at the house as no one has ever returned.

It is the newly arrived architect called Fig who starts the connecting pieces written by Matt Sturges into motion. She arrived at the house as she was being chased by a couple of ghost like figures. Once in the house she discovers she has a unique connection to it that none of the other characters share.

I did like the way the mystery was developed in this first volume and it left me wanting more so I have to recommend this as a buy.

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