Review - Ragemoor #1

The concept of the haunted house that's "alive" in some sense is one that's been around forever. It's steeped in lore from various cultures and has made its way into multiple stories, books and movies. An abode that is both truly evil and an organic being is something a little different.

Dark Horse is looking at the latter, rarer scenario in publishing Ragemoor #1, written by Jan Strnad and illustrated by Richard Corben (with letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot. It's an interesting, noir tale about a castle that's more than just stone and wood.

The opening page of the comic describes Castle Ragemoor as a fortress, sentinel, guardian and prison, and the first issue showcases the estate in all functions. It's the latter that is the focus of the comic as a whole.

Herbert is the current lord of Ragemoor, residing over it alongside his perceived insane father Machlan. They're hosting Machlan's brother and his supposed daughter Anoria at the manor, both of whom have brought excessive airs of brashness and hope. Their hope is that one day Ragemoor will be theirs, regardless of its checkered past.

Herbert, however, lays out the origins of Ragemoor. It was built before the birth of Christ and infused with the blood, sweat and tears of pagans. Its darkness was further amplified by centuries of blood sacrifice and rituals, a darkness seeping deep into the stones.

As expected, the night doesn't go so well the two guests, with Ragemoor living up to its billing as a despicable creature seasoned by centuries of darkness.

In a series like Ragemoor, the castle itself has to personify evil and Strnad does a great job. The recollection of the home's history builds it to be a monster and, when paired with present day events, the reader understands that Herbert wasn't exaggerating the evil.

Corben's illustrations are a little varied. Some of the characters look a bit more realistic, while the others look to be caricatures of the traits they embody. It's not a bad thing, but it's something that requires a little getting used to. The black and white is definitely a nice sense, lending an old sense of horror.

Ragemoor is only a miniseries, which is a little unfortunate. We'll need to see how the entire miniseries plays out before hoping that it becomes an ongoing, but the first issue shows promise. There's a good vibe to the issue and Castle Ragemoor has the potential to be quite horrific. Its motive is still a little unclear, but all in good time.

Ragemoor #1 hits stores March 21. Interiors are below.