Writer: Ted Adams
Adams quickly introduces us to the titular setting and the narrator of the cautionary tales in this grim horror anthology series. Each story is interlaced with deeper understanding about the building itself and how it serves those with desire. Adams tries to weave a fine thread with the bulk of the focus being on establishing a complex setting, narrator, heavy motifs and making social commentary. As a result of this broad focus, there is much about this book that works and much which does not.
I spent a while pondering what I felt didn’t work about this book, and it wasn’t the initial predictability they left me unimpressed. For example, the clear cut story of a couple being destroyed by greed and dying alone could have worked better than either of them been more likable. Yes, it’s meant to be raw and show the self destructive capability of those consumed with wealth. However, the sense of horror and dread didn’t radiate off the pages like it should have.
I believe that Adams could have shown better creative flair in his writing by showcasing more originality and adding more depth to each plot. One potential way of doing this would have been developing how the characters were embodying the malice, evil and selfishness within humanity. That was where it seemed the initial darkness was meant to stem from. Yet, instead of lingering on that message and fully grasping that readers can better resonate with morally ambiguous characters, we were left with characters who were easy to hate. This made their inevitable demise difficult to sympathize with or feel horrified by.
Furthermore, the series could have offered a more compelling variety and displayed more ingenuity had it leaned into the different sub genres of horror stories. Lex’s story offered glimmers of delving into Psychological horror, briefly exploring how he manipulated everyone around him because of his warped views. This was ultimately overshadowed by the cult element and the way the public reacted to him.
In spite of these drawbacks, Adams effortlessly managed to pull me in during Riley’s insight into the omnipresent Diablo House, its mystery, and what each room represented. This is where the writing worked best for me as it was engaging, and I often found myself wanting more panels of backstory. I did like the way he ended each tale with a topical quote.
Santiperez’s artwork bested when it was conveying subjects of sheer disgust whether it was the panel where Lex was devoured by the Alligators, the hell room where Angie met her deserved punishment, or the panels where RC was shown to be slobbering failure of a man. The illustration of Lex’s hell room and the pinball machine was masterfully executed. This was the image that throughout the book Santiperez managed to burn into the back of my head.
Diablo House drew me in with a promising premise and kept me invested with spurs of brilliance. The visuals elevated the series as a whole, but there were elements of the story that just left me wanting more. For these reasons I am giving this book a 7/10. I would love to see more of this team in the future.
If you liked this review, and would like to support us so that we can keep doing what we do, please consider supporting us on Patreon.