Review: Houses of the Holy #7 and #8 (Madefire)

Houses of the Holy 7Madefire’s most sinister motion book returns to our screens in Houses of the Holy #7 and #8 as Mike Carey and Dave Kendall’s slow-burning vampire tale takes a detour and adds flesh to its ever-so-nasty Nazi bones. 
Houses of the Holy 8Publisher: Madefire
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Dave Kendall
Price: 69p from Madefire

Houses of the Holy has traditionally followed Magda and the vampire essence that resides within her. She is currently residing in Nazi Germany and Mike Carey’s story has flipped from her human past, through her transformation and a desperate struggle to survive. She has preyed upon Gestapo officers but until now the Nazi’s have been little more than a side note.

Episode #7 introduces us to the ever-so-evil Gottleib Kunst. He is a Nazi officer collecting orphan Roma children. He aims to use them in short propaganda films but he has another far more sinister project running alongside. Mike Carey has cleverly taken this truly terrifying slice of human history and added to it – leaving the reader to imagine the hidden horror for themselves. Even though she doesn’t feature in episode #7 its this WW2 story that firmly anchors the supernatural Magda in our very real world.

Episode #8 brings us back to Magda and her vampire. There is a struggle between the calm and practical predator and its increasingly manic host. The vampire would like Magda to prey on the fragile and infirm – Roma orphans for instance. Magda would gain fitted, cleaner clothes and so wouldn’t attract unwanted attention. Magda on the other hand, is struggling with her hunger for blood and we learn that she loses more of herself the hungrier she gets. There is also the small matter of Nazi soldiers looking for her previous Gestapo meal. Eventually Magda’s desires get the better of her and, as the vampire warned, she is captured and taken to Herr Kunst’s lair.

It’s the creative team of artist Dave Kendall and SFX guru Wendell Yuponce who literally bring Magda’s world to life. Dave’s hand painted style and muted colour palette are reminiscent of the Pathe information films of the time. Splashes of red blood and the bluefish seething, tentacled vampire add much needed colour to this drab, dreary universe. Wendell Yuponce’s understated string score eerily plays throughout both episodes and as ever, we’re amazed by the amount of background FX that he crams into these tales.

pd_review4“There’s no denying the quality of Houses of the Holy #7 & #8 and the originality of its characters and storytelling. However, this doesn’t stop readers from getting a little frustrated at the long wait between issues. The Brian Wood penned Mono: Pacific proves that Madefire CAN get great comics on sale regularly and it would be nice to get our teeth into this dark world more often. It does after all have plenty of bite.”