It’s nice to get out of the superhero comic grind every once in a while. Dark Horse’s Bad Houses is a classy, quiet, and touching story about ordinary, small-town people. Written by young adult novelist Sara Ryan and illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil (who contributed to the Queen & Country franchise), Bad Houses follows a tangle of connected characters through the houses of Failin, Oregon, meditating on the relationship between people and objects – and the meanings we imbue upon them. Central to the story is one woman who’s made a business of estate sales, and another with a hoarding issue – and their children, who find a connection through their parents’ penchant for sorting through, and finding value in, the discarded items of others.
It’s an engaging tale, full of nicely delineated characters, touching moments, and quiet insight. The art style and character design match the needs of the story perfectly. A well done and quite satisfying story, and a nice change of pace.