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Summary

The most chilling story in this anthology thus far, and one that uncovers some secrets of this mysterious hotel.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Lettering

Review: HOTELL #3: Corpses Lie Where Stones are Unturned

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Writer John Lees and artist Dalibor Talajic, along with colorist Lee Loughridge and Sal Cipriano return with another chilling chapter of short horror in “Hotell” #3. This issue brings the most haunting story yet, complete with tension, gore, and the uncovering of some of the secrets beneath Pierot Courts – secrets likely better off buried.

“You won’t find it on any map, but if you happen to be driving down Route 66 in the dead of night and you’re truly desperate for shelter, sanctuary or secrecy, you might see a battered sign on the side of the road. The Pierrot Courts Hotel – where the tormented make their last stand with the demons that haunt them…where many check-in, but few check out.”

Writing & Plot

John Lees is making full use of the horror anthology style with “Hotell” #3 by including yet another completely different kind of horror story. Instead of demonic infants or reanimated wives, this chapter includes as the hunt for a serial killer who once stopped for a night at – you guessed it – Pierot Courts out in the desert. He is hunted by a journalist with a personal stake in his choice of victims, and on her trail, she ends up at the same ominous hotel as it appears to her on her journey.

Not only is this issue its own unique horror entry in Lees’ series, but it’s a revealing dive into what some of the behind-the-curtain elements of this unnatural hotel. It’s an issue that actually improves on plot points from prior issues that were a bridge too far at the time by showing (not explaining) what caused some of those events. In the process, Lees also writes the most tense and visceral issue of this comic yet. The usual clever setup is matched by intense pacing and a classic “don’t go in there!” approach to the audience perspective. This is a comic that knows how to intelligently and creatively dish out some small secrets without spoiling the game, and can maintain one darkly satisfying time while doing it.

Art Direction

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Dalibor Talajic‘s emphasis on character art and visions of terror create a horror series that is a consistent joy to look at in “Hotell.” Talajic’s focus on characterization is essential for a comic that delves into the backstories and psyches of its protagonists. There is an intimacy in the detail that makes the reporter’s perspective all the easier to interface with. A large part of crafting effective horror is being able to care about the protagonist as they face monstrous odds, and Talijic’s pencils take care of this on the visual end. He’s also given his chance to craft his most haunting creation of flesh and bone thus far, and it’s sure to be a satisfying thrill for monster fans. The colors provided by Lee Loughridge offer an all-encompassing atmosphere of darkness and dread, using shadows and eerie light effects to fill the dark corridors of this maddening hotel. Sal Cipriano’s letters finish off the visual front with a stylized use of traditional lettering that works especially well at establishing tension in the voice of the characters.

“Hotell” #3 is a gripping and intelligent chapter in this short-horror anthology series. John Lees writes an issue that is not only the most outright terrifying of the issues so far, but also divulges some of Pierot Courts secrets without giving too much away. Dalibor Talajic and Co. once again create an atmospheric and detailed visual experience that wraps the reader in this comic’s unnatural and growingly unsettling world. Get this issue from your local comic shop when it hits shelves on July 22nd!

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Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.

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