Comic Review: Daphne Byrne #1 (DC Comics)

Daphne is 14 and her father has suddenly died. Welcome to Daphne Byrne #1, From DC’s Black Label. It’s New York in the 1800s, and Daphne is a little weird. […]

Daphne is 14 and her father has suddenly died. Welcome to Daphne Byrne #1, From DC’s Black Label.

It’s New York in the 1800s, and Daphne is a little weird. She doesn’t fit in with the other little rich girls. In fact, times are tight at home since Dad died. Mom is often spending what money she has on trying to ‘speak with’ her late husband.

This story by Laura Marks, from Joe Hill’s Hill House imprint, has all the makings of a fine beginning. It has death, discomfort, and distrust. But something is holding me back from really REALLY liking this title.

Is it because I am getting the impression that the creative team doesn’t ‘get’ horror? That simply showing the characters being creepy looking and lurking in darkness is in itself NOT horror, simply creepy and dark? Perhaps it’s that the scenes unfold with a telegraphic feel, that is, we know what’s coming before we flip the page? But how can this be? Perhaps the premise is too close to Dollhouse, also from Hill Comics?

Kelley Jones, no stranger to the darker side of DC comics, performs really well on art duties here. The atmosphere, costumes, environment all suggest the 1800s. And Michelle Madsen’s colours are dark, huefully ‘horrid’ and hold things together in hopes of horror.

But truly, something is missing, and I think it’s just that the story so far is a bit predictable. Daphne is in a predicament, perplexed and perturbed. We get it, let’s get going somewhere with the narrative. Fast. Maybe the horror will emerge in issue 2, something will serve to ‘up’ the suspense, up the ante, on the up and up.

By the way, the front cover, by Piotr Jablonski, is very very powerful. WOW!

DC Black Label, Daphne Byrne #1, $4.99 for 26 pages of content. Mature readers

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!