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House of Mystery, Vol. 4: The Beauty of Decay

by Lilah Sturges, Werther Dell'Edera (Illustrator), Jose Jr. Marzan (Illustrator), Luca Rossi (Illustrator)

Other authors: Michael Allred (Illustrator), Mark Buckingham (Illustrator), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator), Richard Corben (Illustrator), Al Davison (Illustrator)14 more, Richard Friend (Illustrator), Antonio Fuso (Illustrator), Amy Reeder Hadley (Illustrator), Michael Kaluta (Illustrator), Stefano Landini (Illustrator), Jeff Lemire (Illustrator), Lee Loughridge (Colorist), Peter Milligan (Contributor), Kevin Nowlan (Illustrator), Andrew Pepoy (Illustrator), Chris Roberson (Contributor), Joe Rubinstein (Illustrator), Matt Wagner (Contributor), Bill Willingham (Contributor)

Series: House of Mystery [2008] (16-20, Annual 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1055201,969 (3.58)2
"The House of Mystery has been temporarily relocated to the Space Between, where death rules and the body count continues to rise. Meanwhile, Fig, Peter and Jordan venture out into the city of ghosts to visit the long-abandoned Pathfinder's Academy where the most desperate specters wail and gnash. But the Pathfinder's Academy holds more than ghosts--it also contains ancient dark secrets that will change Fig's life forever. Will Fig and Peter find a way out? And to make matters even worse, the House of Mystery's previous owner has returned to reclaim what's his."--Amazon.com.… (more)
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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
The gang is stilled trapped in the world filld with angry ghosts, but they're now joined by Cain, who really just wants his house back. Ironically it's the Conception who come to save the day by transporting both House and occupants to a new world filled with more normal inhabitants. The question now becomes: what deal did Fig make with the Conception, and what will the consequences be? ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Aaaannnddd...

Everything changes. I think that's a positive development. :)

The stories are getting better and better, but I'll tell you true, I like the one about Thralls best. For any book lover, I think that one speaks very well to any of us. We all want to be enthralled by a good tale, after all.

I thought it got much better once they were no longer feeling so claustrophobic in the house, but all the types of alchemy that occurred truly made the story a very nice dream.

(OR, if I'm not mis-imagining things, we're very deep into morpheus's incarceration, so , in point of fact, we're in Dream's Dearth.)

Still, an interesting idea. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I have forgotten what this was about already. ( )
  morbusiff | Sep 20, 2018 |
About a month (for me) passed between this and the previous volume of House of Mystery, and I was pretty confused. I can't imagine what it was like to read these collections as they came out! Sturges takes very little effort to remind us who the characters are, where they came from, what they want, or anything really. In this volume, the status quo changes a lot... but I hadn't even gotten used to the last one! Now the House is in an abandoned city or something? And there's ghosts? And the Administrator, the Conception, and Cain all have competing plans? And Fig's dad is still up to no good? But somehow Fig strikes a deal? I don't know; the metaplot here is vague and uninteresting. Either it can't be followed, or I just don't care to follow it.

A lot of good interspersed short stories, though: "The Hounds of Titus Roan" is pretty harrowing, while it's nice to get some background on Poet. And, fantasically, the cockroach Brutus seen in his youthful prime two volumes back has already passed into legend and song:

"That was some story. Do you think it's true?"
"That there was a day weeks and weeks ago when garbage was scarce? Naw. That's just one of Grandpa's silly stories."


"Spellbound," about the dangers of reading, was probably my favorite: lush Michael Wm. Kaluta artwork.

The best part of this volume is the Halloween-themed story in the back, set at an earlier point in the series history, before the House was launched into the Space Between. Fig finds a creepy mask in the House, and we see the mask on many earlier Halloween nights: discarded by Merv Pumpkinhead in the Dreaming, ruining the life of John Constantine's friend, hiding a sadistic killer from a zombie, derailing the life of a child that Madame Xanadu must save. They're nice, creepy snippets of other series, other worlds, with good art and distinctive voices. If only the House of Mystery had maintained this fruitful status quo for longer.

Plus, you know, Merv-- still the third-best Sandman character.

The Houses of Mystery and Secrets: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
1 vote Stevil2001 | Feb 14, 2014 |
Summary: In order to save everyone's life, the House of Mystery has been shifted to the decaying City in the Space Between... but now Bethany is unable to shift the house back, so it seems as though they'll be stuck there forever. And, compounding the fact that there is no food and they're all slowly starving to death, the house and its occupants are being invaded by sinister ghost-creatures, and the house's former owner has decided it's high time to take back what's his.

There's also a collection of Halloween tales from various authors and artists that center around a very creepy mask.

Review: I think this may be the point at which this series loses me. For starters, the action in this volume starts right in the middle of things, without any reminder of where we are or how we got here. With my leaky memory, this was a little off-putting. Secondly, Bethany's running voice-over narration about fear, or stories, or dreams, or (in this case) death, has stopped seeming poignant and deep and started feeling over-used and pretentious. Thirdly, while I'm glad that we're finally getting some answers about what's really going on, not enough is being answered relative to the new questions that are being raised to make it feel fully satisfying. And finally, and most critically, the one major plot point in this volume? The main climax of the story? Is not explained AT ALL. The last few pages have relatively little dialogue, and on those pages basically the entire game changes, with not the slightest bone thrown to the reader about what the hell just happened. It felt like a cheap trick to keep the reader reading, and while it's probably going to work, I'm going to feel a little dirty about reading the next one.

Once again, though, I did really like the intervening stories - we learn more about Poet's background in one of them; the others were stand-alones, but no less fascinating or creepy for that. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Eh. This series started out so well, and with so much promise, but I feel like it's lost the thread by this point. Hopefully it'll pick back up in the next volume... I'm willing to be an optimist as long as I can get them from the library rather than buying them myself. ( )
1 vote fyrefly98 | Dec 13, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lilah Sturgesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dell'Edera, WertherIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Marzan, Jose Jr.Illustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Rossi, LucaIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Allred, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckingham, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Camuncoli, GiuseppeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corben, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davison, AlIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friend, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fuso, AntonioIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hadley, Amy ReederIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaluta, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landini, StefanoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lemire, JeffIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Loughridge, LeeColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milligan, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nowlan, KevinIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pepoy, AndrewIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberson, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rubinstein, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wagner, MattContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Willingham, BillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"The House of Mystery has been temporarily relocated to the Space Between, where death rules and the body count continues to rise. Meanwhile, Fig, Peter and Jordan venture out into the city of ghosts to visit the long-abandoned Pathfinder's Academy where the most desperate specters wail and gnash. But the Pathfinder's Academy holds more than ghosts--it also contains ancient dark secrets that will change Fig's life forever. Will Fig and Peter find a way out? And to make matters even worse, the House of Mystery's previous owner has returned to reclaim what's his."--Amazon.com.

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