The Raven and the Red Death Review: Kill the Hag, Keep the Gore

Richard Corben seems to be on an Edgar Allan Poe kick recently. He has already done justice to “The Fall of the House of Usher” and now he has dipped his hand into two more of Poe’s works in the one-shot “The Raven and the Red Death.”

Corben starts out with Poe’s most famous poem “The Raven.” 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 Narrator’s anguish is a nice idea though it’s only for a few brief panels. The added gore and scary imagery adds an extra dimension to Poe’s poem even though it did not constitute any.

“The Masque of the Red Death” 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 it’s actually the Red Death.

Corben’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 Corben’s style fits with the story’s original tone and intent much better than “The Raven” does.

Mag the Hag makes a return in both comics and he is as pointless as he was in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Corben tries to make him a character that introduces the story like The Cryptkeeper in “Tales from the Crypt.” 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 Poe’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.

“The Raven and the Red Death” one-shot is a joy for Poe fans. They do justice to the original works while adding in new elements that don’t destroy the originals with “Masque” being the better of the two. Even the reappearance of Mag the Hag will not hinder anyone’s enjoyment.

About Rocco Sansone 843 Articles
Rocco Sansone is a “man of many interests.” These include anime/manga, video games, tabletop RPGs, YA literature, 19th century literature, the New York Rangers, and history. Among the things and places he would like to see before he dies are Japan, half of Europe, and the New York Rangers win another Stanley Cup.

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