Comics, Reviews

The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement #1 Review

Explore the latest tale part of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's haunting horror comic shared universe, The Bone Orchard Mythos.

The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement #1 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:05 AM

The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement #1

Review
Rating
8
Good
The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement #1 Full cover

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: June 20, 2023

Page Count: 32

Format: Comic

Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino establish a new horror story that explores the hidden darkness that lurks around ordinary people.

Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are one of the dream teams working in comics today. Where noir fans have Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips as the go-to pairing, horror lovers can rely on Lemire and Sorrentino to work their magic every time they collaborate. After wrapping up their award-winning series Gideon Falls in 2020, the two went straight into developing their next ambitious project to explore more sides of horror. Ominously known as The Bone Orchard Mythos, the two creators have masterminded their own shared horror comic universe. While each comic in the series focuses on its own self-contained story, they are all tied together by the themes of existentialism, nihilism, isolation, and oblivion.

The latest entry in their horror universe is “Tenement,” and it’s touted as the most essential title of the entire project. While still following some similar trends set by “Passageway” and “10k Black Feathers,” this new comic in the anthology series delivers a unique twist to Lemire and Sorrentino’s formula for horror. Let’s dive into my review of this new and twisted story part of the growing Bone Orchard Mythos.

Tenement - Characters

Story Overview

“Tenement” is the story of seven people living inside a strange but inconspicuous apartment building. Isaac is a young boy living with his mom Amanda. Justin is a shady drug dealer. Felix is a mysterious man living by himself. Tanya is a budding guitarist for a rock band. Bob is a down-on-his-luck husband scraping by to pay for his wife’s medical bills. And finally, Gary is a blue-collar worker who does just enough to make ends meet.

While it seems like each of them lives separate lives, a festering dark power secretly binds them together. Life and reality as they know it changes after a mysterious death in the building. That’s when the truth behind what’s waiting in the darkness slowly unravels itself for the rest of the unsuspecting tenants.

Tenement - Seeing Death

Review

Having been a fan of the Lemire and Sorrentino pairing since their 2013 run on Green Arrow, Tenement is another reminder of why their creative styles mesh so well together. Lemire’s knack for creating deeply human stories gets elevated by Sorrentino’s realistic and gritty art style. And knowing that Lemire also loves to experiment with his panels as an artist, Sorrentino’s flair for unorthodox visual storytelling fits perfectly with the writer’s distinct creative vision. Their strengths as creators come together to build the world of “Tenement” as a place where even mundane activities feel unsettling. Much like the issue’s mysterious narrator, you get the feeling of something sinister happening in the shadows of every page.

What makes “Tenement” feel different from the rest of the Bone Orchard Mythos is its use of an ensemble cast as the story’s focal point. However, this first issue felt more like a tone-setter than a proper introduction to the different characters. While we get glimpses of their backgrounds and personalities, the finer details about who these characters are are scarce at this point. It will be interesting to see these different stories unfold and how they intertwine, slowly revealing the darkness that’s creeping around their lives.

As much as I adored how most of the issue was a slow burn of horror, the incredible final stretch of pages is what hooked me on the story. Sorrentino delivered jaw-dropping panel work that balanced telling seven simultaneous stories within single pages. By the end of the issue, it felt like I had just weathered a whirlwind of emotions with these seven characters at the eye of the storm. If that’s just a taste of what’s coming from this series, then sign me up for even more.

Tenement - Fractured story

Final Thoughts

The first issue of Tenement wastes no time establishing its unsettling take on psychological horror. Its slow start masterfully builds up to a thrilling cliffhanger finale that leaves you wanting to know more about what’s lurking in the shadows of this strange world. With still so much to unravel about this comic’s story, it’s a series that deserves a spot in every horror lover’s monthly reading list.

Why You Should Read The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement

  • It’s essential reading if you’re a fan of The Bone Orchard Mythos.
  • It sets an unsettling tone for an intriguing new horror series 
  • Andrea Sorrentino’s panel work makes the world of Tenement feel very surreal and haunting
  • Jeff Lemire explores a twisted story featuring an ensemble cast of characters
TAGGED: Image Comics
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