This complete review of the graphic novel series Harrow County by author Culllen Bunn has been compiled from individual reviews pubished here on Amanja Reads too Much in 2019.
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Harrow County, Vol 1: Countless Haints
18 years ago citizens of Harrow County burned, shot, and hung a witch. They are now seeing the signs of her return in a young girl that just turned 18. Could she be the reincarnation of this not yet forgotten evil?
Volume 1 is a good start the the series. The premise is simple, a town afraid of powerful women. Err I mean evil witches. The protagonist Emmy strikes a balance between naive and adaptable and is quite likeable.
The art has some delightfully creepy moments like when she finds her sidekick, an empty human skin.
It’s got all of the pieces to make a good horror series, it just needs to find its stride. All too often horror series lose their pacing and become less and less creepy over time.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 1: Countless Haints
Vol 2: Twice Told
In volume two of Cullen Bunn’s witch horror series we get an arc about Emmy and her newly appeared evil twin. It’s nature vs nurture here as Emmy fights to use her powers only for good while her twin wants to corrupt her and use her powers to rule (presumably the world) with an iron fist.
Emmy continues to shine through the darkness with a little help from the love of her father but she also continues to be curious about the sinister side of her nature. This will become a consistent theme throughout the series.
The issues are very quick reads and the volumes can be finished quickly.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 2: Twice Told
Vol 3: Snake Doctor
This volume contains 3 seperate stories about characters around Emmy. The first is a single issue about her good friend the empty skin. We get some more insight into his back story and sad tale.
There is then a two issue arc about an old friend of Emmy’s which provides a little background. And then another single issue about Emmy freeing a family from their haunted house. This might actually make them homeless but oh well!
This volume of Harrow County is pretty lackluster and doesn’t really forward the characters much. The art also has some changes, particularly in the last issue that I personally didn’t care for. I like the idea of getting to know the skin boy better but this little teaser story didn’t do enough. But once again, these are super quick reads so pick up this volume if you have half an hour to kill.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 3: Snake Doctor
Vol 4: Family Tree
Volume 4 picks ups the drag from volume 3 and becomes the leader of the series so far. We are treated to much more character development as well as insight into Emmy’s mother.
We are shown how terrified her mother was of Emmy and how early she saw the dormant power within her.
We also get an interesting introduction to a powerful secret society of witches and other magicks that want Emmy to join their fold. The final issue of the volume proves Emmy’s desire to continue on her path of good witch as she doesn’t bend over to the rules of this society.
She’s a strong willed lass who understands her values and doesn’t give in blindly to authority. A marvelous role model she’s turning out to be! Sitck with the series!
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 4: Family Tree
Vol 5: Abandoned
Volume 5 of the southern gothic epic Harrow County makes a few big reveals about who Emmy is, who the big yellow eyed monster in the woods is, and where her friend Kammi ended up after she died.
It’s a lot of information packed into 4 issues but all of it feels right in the context of the story. The reveals don’t feel forced or unnecessary. The author, Cullen Bunn, just decided that they would all work in tandem rather than spread out. I highly recommend continuing this series.
The art throughout this entire series has been pretty solid. It maintains a creepy oil painting vibe and the blood reds really pop out against the dark settings. It manages to be macabre without being disgusting.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 5: Abandoned
Vol 6: Hedge Magic
Volume 6 is all about assumptions. Our young heroine Emmy has yet to do anything that would make someone think she’s evil but everyone assumes she’s evil cause she has the power that others have used for evil.
Out here in the non magic world we all have potential for evil. Each and every one of us could kill. And yet, most people don’t go around assuming the worst of everyone. But in Harrow County even Emmy’s closest friend doesn’t trust her. Since she could kill someone with the blink of an eye then she must have done it already, or she must be about to.
With this assumption the fearful becomes the feared. Emmy’s former companion gains a dark magic of her own and intends, actually intends, on doing harm. But she doesn’t consider herself the monster. Much of this series deals with how assumptions mean more than behavior. No matter what Emmy does people will be distrusting of her because she could. We all could. It’s just not as obvious for us non magic folks.
It’s been interesting that Emmy has not yet given in to any dark temptations. She has flashes of thoughts that she could but she dismisses them right away. A lesser character would give in and then overcome but she has taken the righteous path the whole way so far. She is strong. She is the hero Harrow County needs but she is not the one they deserve.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 6: Hedge Magic
Vol 7: Dark Times A’Coming
In this second to last volume of Harrow County the author, Cullen Bunn, finally pushes Emmy past decency. However, she is still motivated by all of the right reasons. So the question is, how far can a good person go to do the right thing and still be considered good?
Emmy’s friend Bernice witnesses Emmy go past what she considers the edge. I’m less convinced that she’s gone overboard though. I think that line fluctuates for everyone and it’s interesting how Bunn has demonstrated that here in Harrow County.
Volume 7 is easily the goriest volume so far. The violence really gets amped up and I think that is a testament to a horror series that it didn’t just start at 11. It gave itself room to really show a climax.
My only problem with this volume is that it dropped in a previously unmentioned religious aspect that I personally don’t think the book needs. Bernice is suddenly enthralled with quoting the bible as a sort of spell book. Because in order to fight a witch, become a bible witch. Doesn’t work for me.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 7: Dark Times A’Coming
Vol 8: Done Come Back
Alas, here we are at the finale of the Harrow County southern gothic horror saga. It’s been 8 fairly short and volumes and the ending is about what you would expect it to be.
I’ve written a full summary here so that you don’t have to worry about spoilers in this review.
Emmy faces her demons and makes a tough decision in order to do good. The book deals a lot with what makes a person good or evil and are you even able to change that path. Is fate in control or are you?
The highlight of the 8th volume is the empty skin boy. His arc is so absolutely tragic and I wished we could have seen more of him. Give him a spin off! Overall, it’s a happy ending kind of book and I mostly enjoyed it. The art is good, the monsters are interesting, the heroine is strong, and there are a couple of legitimately creepy moments.
Buy it here: Harrow County Volume 8: Done Come Back
Overall series rating 4/5 witches🧙🧙🧙🧙