Story: Anthony Bourdain/Joel Rose
Artwork: “The Snow Woman” by Irene Kolt, “The Cow Head” by Francesco Francavilla
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art: Paul Pope
Well, it’s apparent they saved the best stories for last. These were by far the two best stories in the series.
“The Snow Woman” is a tale about a young man and his father. While out on a hunting trip they are stifled by an enormous snow storm and seek refuge in an abandoned hut left by another hunter. Without any form of heat in the hut, no stove, no fireplace, nowhere to build a fire, they huddle together and rely on their coats and bodies to keep themselves warm. In the night, the Snow Woman comes. She kills the father but spares the son, warning him to never speak of this night. Her reason for sparing the son…sex. She used him like a blow up doll and then threatened to end him too if he ever told anyone about their night together…and their tryst.
He goes about his life but, can’t keep his mouth shut. And although he has everything in life he could want, he soon learns that discretion is the better part of valor.
“The Cow Head” is a gruesome and gory tale of cannibalism and mob mentality. The teller of this story warns against its power and that those who listen to it, end up dead. The other dinner guests think nothing of this and laugh, waiting for the tale…and so it begins.
A village experiencing drought, famine a desperation turns to eating practically any living thing they can. First, they deplete all of the stores and goods, then their chickens, their ducks, then the livestock, even their horses and mules, their cats, their dogs, and at last, rodents and vermin.
Then, a stranger appears. It’s a man with a cow’s head. He wants to speak to the whole village. As they gather, they grow impatient, asking for food and receiving no satisfactory answer. They quickly mob together and kill the stranger, cutting him up like butchers and eating him like vulchers. Soon, they are all full, their bellies fat, their hunger satiated. But, they shortly fall ill, writhing in pain. And the villagers, and the dinner guests, all soon learn about the REAL hungry ghosts.
This was a good way to end the series. I did think these two stories were the best that they came out with. The artwork isn’t bad but, it’s not really my style, although it does fit the context of the comic series. These were the only two stories that I felt real suspense while reading them. I could recommend this particular issue to spirit and ghost story lovers. The progression of the series makes me wonder if it was on purpose or just a natural progression due to Bourdain’s depression. These tales do seem to be a little darker and seedier than the rest.
All in all, this was my favorite issue of the four. And it could be one that I will read again.