Writers: Mike Mignola and Angela Slatter
Art: Valeria Burzo and Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 19th, 2022
Castle Full of Blackbirds #2, firmly set within the vast Hellboy Universe, continues the story of Sara May Blackburn, a girl with psychic powers who has come to the Linton School for Girls to find the mysterious Miss Brook, who she met in the two-part mini-series B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb. Sara hoped Miss Brook would give her more of an understanding of her powers, but instead, Miss Brook has run her through a gamut of tests. Is Miss Brook simply helping Sara rise to the next level or does she have a more sinister purpose behind Sara’s training?
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I got some major Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vibes from Castle Full of Blackbirds #2 (as well as last issue), which definitely isn’t a bad thing. There’s a huge school filled with secret rooms and mysterious sounds emanating from dark hallways, students who all have some type of magic power, and dark forces hovering in the background at all times. More of Miss Brook’s agenda is revealed this issue and though it’s predictable, there’s a tragedy to her actions too, as if she’s being forced in a direction she doesn’t want to go in.
Sara is the most interesting character, by far. She’s very much like Carrie from the film “Carrie”, an innocent unsure of her powers and socially awkward. We get to see more of her backstory here, and it’s tragic, so the fact that she remains upbeat really makes the reader root for her.
I loved the spellcasting throughout the issue too. There weren’t lengthy convocations and gestures like you’d see in a typical issue of Doctor Strange or an episode of “Bewitched”, just the use of various elements from the forest and in one case, drops of blood. It makes the magic in the book feel more Earthy, more rooted in nature.
Given Miss Brook’s “arrangement”, it’ll be interesting in future issues to see where the story goes, and may very well have an impact on the greater Hellboy Universe.
Valeria Burzo’s art on Castle Full of Blackbirds #2 is lovely and the book drips with gothic atmosphere. The Linton School is a huge castle, riddled with cracks and surrounded by gnarly trees and an eternal late-autumn style landscape.
Miss Brooks’ outfits always seem like they come from the Victorian Age. Her character emanates regalness through the art. The spirits that Miss Brook communicates with have a great eerie design, with one of the spirits wearing a type of crown about her head with miniature Stonehenge-type stones with runes on them. The art adds to the gothic and horror atmosphere of the story.
Castle Full of Blackbirds #2 continues Sara May Blackburn’s story. It’s filled with dark magic, haunting visions and gothic intrigue, all set within the Linton School for Girls, which is a character unto itself. Sara and Miss Brooks are wonderfully complex characters, and I look forward to reading the next chapter of the story.