The familial arc has wrapped up in Harrow County #16, and while it feels a little predictable, it has touched upon some interesting threads woven throughout the story. Last issue, Emmy found herself powerless before her supposed family’s plans to destroy the entirety of Harrow County. Needless to say, that doesn’t come to pass.
Throughout this arc, both Emmy and we, as readers, have wondered who this supposed family really is. They claim to want to help Emmy, in one breath, but then threaten destruction to Harrow County, in the other. Despite their questionably claim that the denizens of the county are little more than constructs conjured by Hester, it does seem most evil to kill them. This issue still does little to provide any insight into their motivations or truthfulness.
Predictably, Emmy conjures a shocking amount of power — the same power, I have to assume, that Odessa spoke of a couple of issues prior — and prevents the destruction of the county. However, while Emmy is pleased with this turn of events, I’m not sure if we, the readers, should be.
For some time now, I have wondered the same question that plagued Janet van Dorn in Batman: The Animated Series: are the monsters that plague the county there because of Emmy, or in spite of her? This issue provides some possible clarity — again, similar to the clarity that van Dorn receives — in suggesting that this land was tainted long before Hester step foot there. This revelation is delivered rather cryptically via the four-eyed demon bull that has crossed Emmy’s path before.
He has, throughout the series, reared his head in interesting manners, always implying he is not your standard ghost or goblin. Of all the magic in Emmy’s home, his seems the most dangerous, and his allegiance to Emmy is by the far the most tenuous. This issue, he drops a bomb of deeper revelation and it’s something I hope is further explored in future issues, even though I doubt anything good will come of it.
There is a sad, inevitability to Emmy’s story. Despite her best laid plans and attempts to be “good” and “helpful,” more than a few things spoken by her “family” have a ring of truth to them. Odessa, especially, seemed to have a real concern and care for Emmy, and might have been a most valuable tutor and ally. Her disappointment and sadness is palpable as she departs Harrow, and while I have no doubt we’ll see her, again, it clearly won’t be under and pretense of family or friendship.
Emmy has officially made enemies out of these people she doesn’t fully understand, and it’s more concerning to think she may be running into an even more dangerous friendship in that of our demon friend. But most depressing of all, her efforts and choose of sides may all be for a county that isn’t even worth saving.