This is the third of the three Oni Press Nocturnals trade paperback graphic novels, collecting the Nocturnals: Witching Hour story from Dark Horse Presents #125-127 and the “Troll Bridge” one-shot.
Note: This review features mild plot spoilers — read at your own risk.
The book consists of two story arcs, one I liked and one I didn’t. he one I liked was the first, “Witching Hour,” where young Halloween Girl (Evening “Eve” Horror) goes trick or treating in a strange forest and (predictably) winds up in quite a bit of trouble when she runs afoul of a witch and her goblin servants (who have bat heads but who wear carved jack-o-lanterns over their heads). This was a charming, full-color story with art by Dan Brereton and really highlights that the Nocturnals really are a family who care about each other and help each other out, despite appearing to be “monsters.” Good stuff, and classic Nocturnals.
The second story was “Troll Bridge” where Eve also ends up in a pickle (no, she’s a lot better of a character than Scrappy-Doo, I promise!) when she finds a magical artifact in a bridge troll’s hoard that send her traveling through a variety of dimensions. The story is printed in black, white, and orange – which is cool for Halloween – but my problem with it is that each segment of the story is done by a different artist/writer using their own pet universes and characters, who Eve and the Gunwitch encounter. So we have art by art by Ted Naifeh, Jill Thompson, Arthur Adams, Joyce Chin, Adam Warren, Bruce Timm, Jay Stephens, Stephen DeStefano, Stan Sakai, Eric Jones, Kieron Dwyer, and John Heebink, with special cameos by the characters Jingle Belle, Usagi Yojimbo, and Scary Godmother. Many of these artists’ styles just did not appeal to me, and I;m not into anthropomorphic samurai action, so the lengthy action in the setting of Usagi Yojimbo, for example, did nothing for me. I really missed Dan Brereton’s artwork on this story.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars, but only because of the art and weak storyline of the “Troll Bridge” story (I would rate the “Witching Hour” story much higher, probably a 4 or 4.5 out of 5 stars).
Review copyright 2010 J. Andrew Byers