Richard Corben seems to be on an Edgar Allan Poe kick recently. He has already done justice to â€œThe Fall of the House of Usherâ€ and now he has dipped his hand into two more of Poeâ€™s works in the one-shot â€œThe Raven and the Red Death.â€
Corben starts out with Poeâ€™s most famous poem â€œThe Raven.â€ Here the narrator, which Corben has named Arnold, is tormented by a raven while he is alone in his chambers. Corben changes it up a little bit by adding in Lenore and a lot more gore.
Though not the best adaptation of the poem, it does its job decently. The idea of adding Lenore just to drive home the Narratorâ€™s anguish is a nice idea though itâ€™s only for a few brief panels. The added gore and scary imagery adds an extra dimension to Poeâ€™s poem even though it did not constitute any.
â€œThe Masque of the Red Deathâ€ is about a kingdom that has been destroyed by a plague. So the monarch, Prince Prospero, throws a great party for all the nobles with the condition that nobody wears red. Someone comes to the party wearing red and itâ€™s actually the Red Death.
Corbenâ€™s adaptation sticks to the original pretty closely and, as usual, adds his gruesome touch to it. This comic is the better of the two in that Corbenâ€™s style fits with the storyâ€™s original tone and intent much better than â€œThe Ravenâ€ does.
Mag the Hag makes a return in both comics and he is as pointless as he was in â€œThe Fall of the House of Usher.â€ Corben tries to make him a character that introduces the story like The Cryptkeeper in â€œTales from the Crypt.â€ The difference between the two characters is that The Cryptkeeper actually does a lot more than just introduce the story and is hilarious. Mag the Hag fails at both of these tasks.
The art once again is perfect for Poeâ€™s story. It is dark, creepy and the characters are as ugly as they come. The gory scenes look fantastic. Some Poe purist may object to the gore when in fact Poe had a ton unsettling and bloody imagery in his stories.
â€œThe Raven and the Red Deathâ€ one-shot is a joy for Poe fans. They do justice to the original works while adding in new elements that donâ€™t destroy the originals with â€œMasqueâ€ being the better of the two. Even the reappearance of Mag the Hag will not hinder anyoneâ€™s enjoyment.