Corey Taylor is known for forming and fronting Stone Sour as well as being the lead (since 1997) for Slipknot. Now he's teamed up with Dark Horse to bring us the House of Gold and Bones. The cover is mysterious, showing a tortured screaming figure with a nice artistic play on the shadows as they form a devilish individual.
The back cover however is advertising the second part of Stone Sour’s double album of the same name. This really took the edge off for me and made the story inside automatically feel like a bit of a sell out; attempting to make a brand where one may not have been or wrangling extra fans.
Further continuing the musical theme, this issue is titled Part One The Overture. For those who aren’t sure what that means, you receive a helpful definition of four possible versions of the word. I can only hope that one of them is suitable in the long run over the four issues of this miniseries.
The story is essentially a fairly basic dreamworld scenario with a nod towards fears of being chased, heights and falling. These are initially a vehicle to push the main character into a small building to meet with a shadowy figure who is scripted as part conundrum and part Yoda in his way of thinking and questioning. From here there is a vague idea of places to be and pieces to follow, but nothing firmly driving the reader to think more into it. A lot of the issue is spoon fed to you with nothing else to support it making it feel a little thin. A good example of this is the main character. With the exception of learning of a twin brother called Allen, there is nothing for the reader to identify with, leaving him a little vacuous. The only clues to a personality are found within the internal monologue and occasional interaction he has, which doesn’t leave much to work with at all. With a goal in hand and a distance to travel the issue wraps up with an obvious cliffhanger, but once again no real feeling of threat or suspense.
The artwork I also found to be similar to the writing. It’s very open and loose, with a very muted choice in its colours. As it is all a dream - or potentially a nightmare - it does work to a degree. Richard Clark’s characterisations frustrated me though. The positions that the characters were in sometimes felt a little overemphasised, but more in the sense of a puppet than a person. There's a lot of facial expression used but the rapid changes between the spectrum of emotions seems too quick to carry off a realistic change of demeanour - unless of course they are bordering on schizophrenic.
Knowing who is behind it I felt disappointed in it. Maybe it’s just that comics are not a forum that works well for Taylor's writing though, as the small taster of his prose novel in the final pages did quell the feelings of dissatisfaction. Maybe it'll improve as a whole over the three subsequent issues.
Matt Puddy is more of a Mushroomhead fan.