Houses of the Unholy

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Pub Date Aug 27 2024 | Archive Date Not set

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Houses of the Unholy is a riveting horror thrill-ride from bestselling creators Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the award-winning team behind CRIMINAL (soon to be a TV series on Amazon Prime), RECKLESS, NIGHT FEVER and WHERE THE BODY WAS.

In this new tale, an FBI agent from the cult crime beat and a woman with a past linked to the Satanic Panic are drawn into a terrifying hunt for an insane killer hiding in the shadows of the underworld.

This pulse-pounding story asks: can you ever escape your past, or are all your bad decisions just more ghosts to haunt you, wherever you go?

Select praise for Brubaker & Phillips:

"Brubaker and Phillips's books have always been about eight years ahead of their time." —Brian K. Vaughan, SAGA, Paper Girls

"Brubaker & Phillips continue to make sweet music together, broadcast to you in the form of the best comics around." —Robert Kirkman, Invincible, The Walking Dead

"Ed and Sean are that rare longterm collaboration that never become complacent, each project is a new revelation, the love visibly increased, the enthusiasm for the craft only growing over time. You don't have to consider the purchase, you make it on instinct at this point." —Rick Remender, Deadly Class, Black Science

"Like Scorsese and De Niro, Brubaker and Phillips are the unmatched masters of a certain kind of storytelling—those fables of doomed and deluded men who are ready to die bloody, defending the tatters of their soiled American dreams. A new title from the sharpshooters behind Criminal and Fatale is reason enough to go on living." —Joe Hill, Locke & Key, Horns, NOS4A2

"Brubaker and Phillips have achieved the sort of creative consistency that'd justify critics filing their INSTANT CLASSIC reviews before they even read whatever they put out next." —Kieron Gillen, The Wicked + The Divine, Die

"I’ve been reading Ed Brubaker comics since the first appearance of Ed Brubaker comics and every single time he announces a new title I mutter to myself: 'ugh! I wish I would’ve thought of that!'" —Brian Michael Bendis, Powers

"I'm a pretty easy mark for any Brubaker-Philips creation..." —Jonathan Hickman, East of West, House of X

“Two of the best in the business, no contest.” —Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel, B*tch Planet

Select praise for Brubaker & Phillips’ Where the Body Was:

"Prolific collaborators Brubaker and Phillips follow their surrealistic thriller Night Fever with this playfully experimental, though no less grittily gripping, stand-alone whodunit-style murder mystery set in a suburban neighborhood over the summer of 1984...VERDICT A fast-paced mystery, propelled by a fascinating cast of characters, that builds to a profoundly moving and deeply romantic climax. Absolutely not to be missed." —Library Journal, starred review

“A masterfully-told puzzle box mystery with a fiercely beating human heart.” —Jordan Harper, Edgar Award winning author of Everybody Knows and She Rides Shotgun

"Brubaker and Phillips have done it again—a crime story that somehow, in its twists, turns, and thrills, reminds us of the poignancy of lost dreams, missed connections, and a past we'll always crave but never return to." —Sara Gran, author of Come Closer and the Claire DeWitt series

"Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker represent the gold standard for comics noir—brutal, beautiful, and best." —Ian Rankin, bestselling author of the John Rebus books

Select praise for Brubaker & Phillips’ Night Fever:

Night Fever pulled me in from the first moment with its razor sharp writing and gorgeous art. Brubaker and Phillips have crafted a taut, riveting story, as disturbing as it is satisfying, full of memorable lines and stunning images. Thought-provoking and highly entertaining.” —Charles Yu, National Book Award winning author of Interior Chinatown

"Brubaker’s masterfully hardboiled scripting is both unnervingly nihilistic and propulsively thrilling, and Phillips’s illustration has rarely evoked such nuances of character or absolute menace. VERDICT Another masterwork from a collaborative team that seems increasingly incapable of producing anything less. —Library Journal

"Crackling, effortless style." —Publishers Weekly

"The art is striking. Moody and noir, it also makes strong use of colors: one page contrasts yellow with dominant blues, purples, and blacks to illuminate graphic violence, while other pages use lighter tones to indicate Jonathan having a greater measure of control. Part mysterious crime story, part psychological drama, Night Fever is a haunting graphic novel in which a man tests his limits and realizes why they existed in the first place." —Foreword Reviews
Houses of the Unholy is a riveting horror thrill-ride from bestselling creators Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the award-winning team behind CRIMINAL (soon to be a TV series on Amazon Prime)...

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ISBN 9781534327429
PRICE $24.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 131 members

Featured Reviews


In this new tale, an FBI agent from the cult crime beat and a woman with a past linked to the Satanic Panic are drawn into a terrifying hunt for an insane killer hiding in the shadows of the underworld.

This pulse-pounding story asks: can you ever escape your past, or are all your bad decisions just more ghosts to haunt you, wherever you go?


I received a free ARC from NetGalley, and this review is voluntary

In this detective tale of the occult, devil worship, and how the satanic panic influenced the minds of a generation, we find Natalie on her travels - herself with a past linked to this time period in culture, courtesy of her mother and the ideology believed in. As the story unfolds, we learn that Natalie is hired as a tracker, by the parents of a teenager whom was kidnapped, supposedly by a cult. Although she was initially successful in her mission, the kid was able to escape and alert the authorities, after which time she was arrested and jailed for a handful of different charges. Enter the FBI Agent, from the cult crime division on his own mission, but needs her help due to her past connection to his existing case.

This was a fun read for a number of different reasons. In relation to the pacing, I felt the tempo was just right. The plot is mostly focused on the present, but there was also a build up in the background for something more, or for something else. It presented questions, because much like how the effects of the satanic panic influenced the minds of certain individuals to believe what they did, the reader may also wonder if what they're reading on the page is the true reality of the situation for the characters involved, or if there is something a bit more nefarious going on in the background. As they say, you won't know until the very end, unless by that time... it's too late.

This was well written, and provided such an atmosphere of the eerie. Just nailed down the psychology of the real life events of the satanic panic. An absolute homerun by Brubaker and Phillips

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The art is so well done, It was like I was reading an old comic book, it gave me the same cozy feelings, I love the coloring.
The story was wonderfully written, thought out and creepy! the plot twist was a shock to me but it made me feel deeper for that character, I can't believe it's over! I really hope there is more of this story to come!

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I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. A horror graphic novel about Satanic panic, sign me up! The story drew me in as soon as I started it and couldn't put it down. What a wild ride.

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This was such a good horror graphic novel.

The story follows Natalie Burns, a private investigator with a dark and sinister past. In the 80s, during the Satanic Panic, she and several other kids, known as the Satanic Six, accused camp counselors of satanic torture, which destroyed their lives. Natalie now focuses on saving kids from cults/cult-like activities. When a job goes wrong she‘s picked up by a FBI agent and together they try to save the remaining members of the Satanic Six.

The artwork is chef’s kiss. I loved the eerie atmosphere, the story was very well written and the pacing felt just right.
I absolutely loved the flashbacks to Natalie‘s childhood.
I do think this book would’ve benefited from being a bit longer. And I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending.

All in all, a solid 4 star read that I‘d definitely recommend.

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Brilliant! Anther incredible stand-alone graphic novel from Brubaker, Phillips, and Phillips. This volume leans more into the horror genre, and similar tones to their classic Fatale volumes. I actually found myself liking Jacob Phillips colours more in this volume then I have in the past few of their works. Great read!

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Houses of the Unholy is another hit from the team of Brubaker and Philips. The story follows Natalie Burns as she gets dragged back into a past she's been trying for 35 years to escape, set against the backdrop of the satanic panic. The story moves at a relentless pace and is a thrill ride all the way through, taking Natalie and the reader through a tide of existential dread, with Brubaker's masterclass writing and Philips's beautiful pages with the colors by Jacob Phillips helping to complement the existential horror that permeates throughout the book making House of the Unholy another worthy addition to their bibliography.

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Admittedly, when I requested this title I didn't realize it was a comic/graphic novel. It sounded interesting and I was sold. I really enjoyed it, as my first adult graphic novel. The story was interesting and bone-chilling. A wild ride! Thank you NetGalley for the early access read!

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Dark, disturbing & intense..exactly what I expected. I found the illustrations to be spectacular and the storyline kept me intrigued. I don't normally read graphic novels, but glad I got to read this one. I will definitely look into more.

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I am so thankful to Image Comics, Netgalley, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips for granting me advanced digital access to this thrilling graphic novel before it hits shelves on August 27, 2024.

Natalie Burns has a dark and sinister past, one that includes the Satanic Panic of the late 80s where schoolkids blamed teachers and camp counselors of satanic torture, only for society to realize that they’d been bamboozled by a bunch of pre-teens, ruining the lives of countless adults in their town.

Years later, Natalie is a private investigator/bounty hunter, of sorts, who works to save kids from cult-like activities but when a job goes wrong, she’s picked up by a rogue FBI agent who is all-too-familiar with her case from decades ago. Agent West is attempting to save the remaining members of the Satanic Six, as they are being picked off ritualistically one by one, and it’s perceived that Natalie is next.

Told through Rated-R illustrations, the creators of the Houses of the Unholy will leave you wondering if these ritualistic cults are real or just a brain fog from some very mentally ill individuals.

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For years now, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been putting out amazing graphic novels that blur the line between different genres, and in Houses of the Unholy, they turn their gaze to the aftermath of false childhood Satanic Panic accusations and see our now grown-up heroine teaming up with an FBI agent to save the surviving members of her "Satanic Six". I wish it had been a little bit longer as the conclusion came really fast and hard and I would have liked a little more. Nevertheless, a four-star Brubaker/Phillips book is still better than most five-star graphic novels out there.

Special thanks to Image Comics and NetGalley for the digital ARC. This was given to me for an honest review.

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There’s nothing like a good old fashioned cultist horror story, and this was that: GOOD. I could have happily spent another 150 (300, 500, 1000…) pages with Natalie Burns and her quest to figure out just what the hell is going on. The structure of present day and flashback sequences are timed perfectly and so much fun. The art is extraordinary, I’m in awe of the lettering, the inking makes for exciting shadow play, and the coloring lends perfection to the atmosphere. Every aspect of the book is fantastic. *Chef’s Kiss* I’ll be getting myself (and a few friends) a physical copy as soon as this terrific terror is released!

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First I would like to thank Image Comics for allowing me early access to this book.

I've said it before, but I'm a huge fan of the Brubaker - Phillips tea, and this new standalone confirms it.

Here they operate in a new setting, 80's horror. The story is centered around the satanic panic and conspiracy theories in general.
I found the tone and the art style particularly adapted to this subject.
I also found here all I love about their previous work, the tragic characters, the gritty world, the twists and turns of the story, the almost open ending.

It was a short but great read and I definitely would recommend.

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I love it that the veteran Deans, the veritable GOATS, of Crime Comics, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, wit colorist Jacob Phillips, having established their niche in comics history, have decided to try something different, eighties horror, in their stand-alone graphic novel, Houses of the Unholy. Okay, their Fatale can be characterized as horror, with its femme fatale and monsters and mystery, and one volume of the series, subtitled The Devil’s Business, actually dealsin part with Satanic Cults. And To Kill or Be Killed just may feature a demon, depending on your reading of the story. But this is a full frontal dark (to match our even darker times?) forway into the world of Satanic Cults, and a departure from their ongoing Criminal series.

The work is still recognizably Brubaker and Phillips x2: The writing is terrific, with twists and turns, the story proceeding out of text boxes throughout. And it does still involve crime. The art is obviously the father-son Phillips team, and yet they are trying a different tone, a different style, different colors, to fit the different genre, and the crazier story.

Natalie Burns was one of six kids in her community acusing adults of satanic rituals and abuse--there were actually something like 12,000 cases against adults, ruining many lives, so it really was a kind of panic--when she was little. Now she makes up for it by working as a PI rescuing kids from cults. But an ex-FBI agent comes to her to tell her that of the 6 original accusers, two are dead, and she is in now in danger. The plot involves her brother, too, and it all goes crazy, turning in on itself. Maybe a little too crazy for me, but hey, this is the genre, too!

This book looks to the past with reference to The Salem Witch Trials with its focus on the conspiracy theory of 1692-3 that led to the murder of many good people in a small community. All dismissed as lies afterwards. See, too, Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, for a story of the trials, written as an analogy to the early 1950’s commie “witch hunt” led in part by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It also makes reference to eighties and nineties cults and their insane leaders drawing victims into their hysterical muck and mire.

It also looks to the present, as all good horror does, in referencing the damaging effects of conspiracy theories in 2024 society.
Of course the Satanic Panic is not an original theme, with lots of folks writing about it, from Grady Hendrix to Stranger Things to you name it. But this is a fine addition to the bunch, so no big complaint here. It has a kind of hysterical over-the-top-ness to the conclusion that is both dark and a tribute to the horror genre, so it was both scary and fun. I get it that tastes will differ.
*The title, kids, is a reference to Led Zeppelin’s 1973 album, Houses of the Holy.

Thank you to NetGalley and Image Comics and the authors (who are not my personal friends but I nevertheless want to have a beer with them; sure, I’ll buy!) for an advanced copy of Houses of the Unholy in exchange for an honest review. It hits the shelves on August 27, 2024.

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Dark subject matter abounds in Houses of the Unholy, a brisk graphic novel that tackles trauma surrounding the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. When a woman whose childhood was caught up in the collective psychosis is confronted violently with her past, she and a rogue FBI agent are forced to track down the sinister forces behind the plot.

This is a quick read, and many elements of the story (and ending) are left purposefully vague which may be offputting. However it is overall an intriguing and page turning mystery that offers plenty of dread.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Image Comics for an advanced copy of Houses of the Unholy in exchange for an honest review.

Houses of the Unholy is a horror graphic novel set years following the Satanic Panic. Natalie, who was formally involved in being manipulated into accusing camp counselors of satanic torture, now saves other children from cults. She gets involved with an FBI agent, who also works on solving cult-related crimes. They team up to try to figure out who is killing the other children from Natalie's past, who were also involved in accusing the camp counselors of satanic torture.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel! I thought the characters and the plot were well-developed. Sometimes with graphic novels I find that those areas can be a bit lacking, as the authors will depend on the graphics to explain more of the story, so I appreciated that it wasn't the case for this one. I enjoyed the pacing, and how the flashbacks had different coloring/shading to offset it from the main storyline. The artwork was well done, and the grittiness fit the tone of the story. I do think it ended a bit abruptly, and would have liked a little more closure, but that's just a personal preference.

I rated this 4.5, rounded up to 5 stars.

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I'm grateful to Image Comics for giving me access to an advance e-copy of Houses of the Unholy to consider for review.

I recently went to see Arthur Miller's play The Crucible at the Gielgud theatre in London. This story of mass delusion leading to a literal witch-hunt is a deep part of modern culture but it was the first time I saw it. The parallels with the McCarthy political purges are well known, but I didn't realise until I read this graphic novel that it also prefigured a more literal form of witch-hunt that actually took place in the USA in the 1980s, a couple of decades after Miller's play appeared. (My lack of knowledge of this perhaps reflects a deep gulf between the pre Internet age and now - something like this would, of course, be all over social media and impossible to miss. But in the 80s I, and most people, were not online).

The parallels are, as Houses of the Unholy describes them, close. Young kids, pushed by peer pressure and fundamentalist-minded parents and authority figures such as therapists and clergy, denounce teachers, youth workers and others. The whole things snowballs. Reason sleeps. Those falsely labelled are ostracised, lose their jobs and sometimes take their own lives. In the backwash, when a degree of common sense is reasserted, there is guilt and retribution. Lives are damaged of lost.

In Houses of the Unholy we first meet Natalie Burns checking in at a remote motel. She pays in cash and asks for a cabin isolated from the others. Is she up to something, or does she just want a bit of peace and quiet? Of course it's the former, and the story soon takes a dark turn, resulting in attention form the local police and a driven, lone gun FBI agent.

Learning more about Natalie's background, we gradually understand how she got caught caught up in the 80s panic, and what she feels she has to atone for. The stigma of those events wrecked Natalie's family and her brother spiralled off into online conspiracy fandom. She herself cannot forget what she did - but nor can she properly distinguish the false memories from the true ones. At first seeming a rather unpleasant character, Brubaker and Philips do build sympathy for Natalie as the story continues, showing how she, too was a victim in all this and what she has done to rebuild her life.

Agent Paul West, who begins by arresting Natalie but then offers her a deal if she'll cooperate, is a bit of a classic loner, apparently working an angle that he shouldn't be. We learn little about him until later in the book, partly because his attempts at bonding with her are pretty much rebuffed. Endlesss car journeys in frozen silence are more native to a graphic novel depiction than to prose. and Houses of the Unholy makes excellent use of panels without speech bubbles as well as using background colour to animate the mood - a cool blue for the frequent noir-ish, nighttime scenes, red when we scent evil, particularly for flashbacks to the 80s. It's a compelling and addictive story, weaving together both the aftermaths of the 80s panic and a modern strand of apocalyptic, End-Of-Times fear that's pointed up later in the story by a distant warning siren (we never learn what it's warning of) as well as our heroes encountering unnatural disasters such as floods and wildfires.

All in all and excellent horror-tinged tale that ends on a note of real uncertainty, blurring the boundary between human evil and the supernatural. Great fun.

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I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It was dark and very interesting. If you like cults and demons . This graphic novel is for you. The graphics and the colors were awesome. This was a good quick read. I love dark graphic novels. Also that ending!! I hope there will be more.

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A horror graphic novel is right up my alley- I really enjoyed this one, however I was a little let down with the ending. Overall I did really enjoy this though! Definitely want to let the read marinate for a little bit and it could be a five star, I am going to grab a physical copy for sure!

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I love Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. The story and the artwork together with the colours chosen was able to portray the creepy feeling the graphic novel wanted to. I loved that the story was way more than what we see. There were a few twists that I didn't see coming and can't wait until the second volume.

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My first graphic novel. A true horror and loved every second of it. Took me on a wild ride and cant wait to read more!

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Natalie is one of the "Satanic Six," a group of children who told tales of being taken by trusted adults to be tortured by demons and satan himself. As an adult, she's had that history as a shroud from which she cannot escape. As her fellow Satanic Six find themselves in trouble, Natalie is next on the list.
A short, fast read. I would have loved to see this fleshed out into a longer story - there's so many fun points; with an FBI agent, car chase, stalkers, conspiracy theorists, and more. It was beautifully illustrated, I loved the use of colors. So much of the book is in a sort of sunset tone (reds, oranges, pinks) which fits perfectly with the end-of-days themes.

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I mostly enjoyed this, but possibly because I live in the UK not the US, wasn’t alive in the 1980s, and have never understood religion let alone religious fanaticism, I don’t think I was the intended audience.

It was interesting and dark with a lot of plot twists, but it felt like the overarching plot fell flat, especially given the open ending- I need answers please!?

Read through Netgalley.

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This is a 3.5 star review rounded up to 4 stars.

Houses of the Unholy is the story of Natalie Burns, a woman who was part of a satanic panic situation when she was a kid and who is now a private investigator who sometimes rescues kids from cults.

The story follows Natalie as she is involved in an investigation of the murders of people who were involved in the satanic panic scare she was part of in her childhood. As this investigation rolls on, the reader also learns about what happened when Natalie was a child.

This is a book by two creators who have worked together for decades. Brubaker and Phillips work very well together, and that is what makes this book work. The story and character work are good and the art is wonderful. The only flaw I found in the book was the ending.

There were a few too many twists at the end and I felt that, while I couldn't see how else it could end satisfactorily, I still wasn't satisfied. But, all in all, I found it an enjoyable reading experience.

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I really enjoyed reading this book. It was my first time reading anything from these authors and I will definitely be looking into more of their books.

I would love a sequel to this book.

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Houses of the Unholy is a creepy horror graphic novel. It's a real page turner. The plot is really interesting and the artwork is great. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it to all horror fans.

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Oh how I raced through this one. Such a page turner with a thrilling, suspense story. I enjoyed the dual narrative with the protagonist’s past flashbacks juxtaposed with her current storyline. There were some intriguing reveals and plot twists. I wished it was longer, I could easily read a novel of this. My only gripe was that some elements are very catered to the male gaze and there is some female nudity which I found gratuitous.

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Thansk to NetGalley for the ARC etc etc

This one was fun! I'm a big fan of Satanic Panic stories, I grew up as it started to let up a bit most places but people like my neighbors were still a lot like this. I'm not an avid reader of Brubaker and Phillips, at this point there are so many Criminal books that I'm kind of intimidated... but I appreciate that this was a standalone. I'd definitely recommend it to other fans of the Panic or maybe to Stranger Things fans who want something a bit more realistic.

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At this point in their careers a reader usually knows what to expect from a Brubaker and Phillips. As a team they have carved out their own niche of 70’s/80’s influenced noir masterpieces and within that space they do not miss…ever. Still, having read all of their prior collaborations, Houses of the Unholy managed to surprise me quite a few times with its swervy plot and willingness to tread in ambiguity. It’s probably the closest thing to Fatale they’ve done since that breakthrough book, but they’ve learned a lot of new tricks in the intervening years making this one of their stronger efforts, which is really saying something.

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Houses of the Unholy is the first work by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips that I have read and I was blown away by the content material. The story follows Natalie Burns and her involvement in the Satanic Six, in which her and five other children made claims of being forced to engage in satanic rituals by a counselor in the 80s. Now, Natalie has grown up and has tried to put the past behind her, but is found by Agent West and is brought back into the fold by investigating the deaths of other children involved in the Satanic Six However, nothing is what it seems anymore and Natalie is left to wonder if the actions of her childhood have influenced the world in more ways than initially thought.

The artwork was compelling, and the story was a quick and fast paced read. I found myself reading through the pages as if I was living through the Satanic Panic myself. Overall, an interesting and thought provoking read.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this comic in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved the art style and the story immediately drew me in. Cults and conspiracies that might actually be true? It's a perfect set up.

This story was emotional and heavy, and draws great attention to the vulnerability of children to indoctrination. I'm really fascinated by the past story line here, and wish I would have gotten more.

I'm a little disappointed in the ambiguous ending. I'd like to keep following Natalie.

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First and foremost, thank you to Image Comics and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC for an honest review!

This is an interesting book, in a number of ways. I love the duo of Brubaker and Phillips, and as a result was expecting a lot from this book. I was marginally disappointed by the end of it, however. I wanted more of this story, more of these characters, and more to chew on. On the plus side, I wanted more because there is so much about the book that I enjoyed and that I found interesting, but it feels the whole time like it is just scratching the surface of the concept.

Basing a story around the Satanic Panic was a good decision, because it is a time that I have seen revisited some, but never with much nuance or depth, and Brubaker and Phillips provide a fair amount of this throughout the book. It is a quick story that tugs on certain threads that indicate a deeper evil, but sometimes it feels as if that tugging is leading to an empty rope, with the philosophical pondering just out of reach of the pace of the story. Don't get me wrong, the pace works well, but it could use a few more moments of slowing down to allow itself to settle.

The art of this book is beautiful and provides a sense of the surreal throughout it, which lends itself well to the feeling of being lost in memory and lost in the past. It adds strong emotions to the already strong story, and heightens the feeling that something is never quite right throughout the duration of the story. I recommend this book if you are interested in a new stab (pun intended) at framing the Satanic Panic through the eyes of the graphic novel, and open to a quick read.

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Brubaker/Phillips' new graphic novel follows an FBI agent and Natalie, a woman with a past linked to the Satanic Panic of the 80s. Together they are on the hunt for a killer that may or may not be involved with recent murders of the past children now adults of that same Santanic Six Panic.
It was a quick novel, but still a goodie from the duo. I was wrong almost every step of the way in this murder mystery. It has a old style feel to it. If you are used to Brubaker's work, it is similar. The art was great. It was dark and perfect for the scenes. I hope we get more issues in this series.

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I'm going to have to wait for this one to come out in paper format, because the formatting is so bad on my computer and the Kindle. I like their other books, so I'm guessing it's great. Looking forward to this when it comes out and I can actually see/read it!

5 stars because I can't really give it an actual rating or review.

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I’ve read everything the Brubaker-Phillips duo had written, and they never disappoint: this one was a fast-paced occult thriller with great atmosphere, I loved the ‘80s satanic panic vibes, and the art is top notch, Phillips always cooks. I’m not really sure about the ending, though: I was a bit disappointed when I finished the book, I found it lackluster, but it kinda grew on me.
Overall, it was great, highly recommended.

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I’m a bit bummed about the open ending, but the rest of it was super good. Nothing better than some satanic rituals on a Sunday

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“But maybe is the sound of hope in your mind, and hope is for fools.”

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips new graphic novel is about an FBI agent from the cult crime division, he is on the search for a woman named Natalie, a woman with a past linked to the Satanic Panic. They are drawn into a crazy hunt for a killer that is hiding within the shadows of the underworld.

This is set around the era of the satanic panic during the 80s. A group of children who confess to being involved in satanic rituals, later in life come to find their past never truly goes away. A killer is on the loose connected to an infamous cult, Natalie who is trying to change the ramifications of her past is pulled back into this hunt for this killer.

This was a fast paced story. Told through the lens of the 80s, with the matching artwork the disturbing parts of the story were illustrated well in showing that unsettling dark side of this tale.

This was a short but darkly entertaining read.

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Another cracking graphic novel thanks to Image Comics.

This one had the feel of Dennis Wheatley story with Silent Hill and good thriller horrors thrown in for good measure.

There were flashbacks that built tension into the current narrative and allowed some of the back story to be filled in as Natalie Burns journeyed with an FBI agent to investigate the killings of the Satanic Six.

These flashbacks took us to the time of the 80s Satanic panics, the hysteria that there were Satanic cults everywhere and that children were vulnerable to abuse from these cults.

It also touched on the idea of repressed and implanted memories that was huge at the time also, and according to Natalie this is what the Satanic Six were, six children who got caught up in this hysteria.

Much like the children in various witch trials, the children told what was expected of them and some adults had to face the consequences of these words.

The story is brilliantly supported by a great art style that has a predominantly red and black palette which is oppressive and really adds to the atmosphere as the story progresses.

Bleak, oppressive, and tense. Loved this from start to finish.

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved this Satanic Panic mystery graphic novel. Good story though I did guess part of it. I subtracted one star because I hate open-ended endings but otherwise it was excellent. If you’ve enjoyed any of the author’s other detective/mystery graphic novels you’ll enjoy this one. I was thrilled to get it in NetGalley, thanks to the authors and publisher for that!

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I’m a long time fan of Brubaker and Phillips. They have consistently done outstanding modern gritty crime stories. “Houses of the Unholy” starts out strong and keeps getting better as the story progresses. Anyone familiar with 1960s Chick tracts, the evangelical comics from cartoonist Jack Chick, will appreciate how Phillips made the chapter headings look like Chick tract titles.
My only disappointment was the ending. It felt like either this was supposed to be part one of the story or they decided to end in a depressing manner. A rule of most crime stories is that they end on a downer, but I had hoped for a slightly better ending for Natalie Burns.

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The artwork in this graphic novel reminds me of vintage crime comic books. Comparing the art style with the storyline of this tale, they fit together nicely bringing you, the reader, an interesting reading experience.

Natalie Burns and five other children made claims of being forced to engage in satanic rituals by counselors. This was during the Satanic Panic of the 80's, so her name along with the rest became front page news. The problem was that the whole thing was fake, and it haunted her to the present day, where this story takes place.

Natalie is picked up by the FBI to participate in an investigation into the deaths some of the other children involved in the Satanic Six, leading into a micro-adventure that explores more of Natalie's past.

I can't tell if there will be a sequel to this, possibly not, but the quick pace of the story was good with moderate text throughout. The comic was easy to read, although the story progression was too predictable. Nonetheless, a great comic book for horror fans. I recommend this comic and the authors / artists involved who created it.

Thank you to NetGalley and to Image Comics for providing this comic in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks netgalley for an advanced ARC of this graphic novel

Reading this was very interesting and hit on the crazy that was a thing back long ago called the satanic panic which lastest a while, making this story around that has been an interesting read and I could of read more because I was glued from page to page... the story ending I did see coming a mile away but I still found it a enjoyable and Engrossing read (I think insaw the ending coming because I have read to many books and watched to many movies haha 😄). It was relatively fast Paced with learning about the main female character and how she has been running most her life not just from living in the world but from her past, her self and also what she was afaird she would become if she let go into any of it.

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Houses of the Unholy is a chilling crime thriller from the creative duo behind Reckless, Criminal and Night Fever, writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips, that had us hooked from the very first page.

An FBI agent from the cult crime beat and a woman with a past linked to the Satanic Panic are drawn into a terrifying hunt for an insane killer hiding in the shadows of the underworld. Can you ever escape your past, or are all your bad decisions just more ghosts to haunt you, wherever you go?

Before we even opened Houses of the Unholy we knew we were in for a ride. The combination of the creative team and the stunning cover art gave us hope for another smash-hit from Brubaker and Phillips. Within the first few pages we were captivated by stunning artwork. Brubaker and Phillips once again have proven why they are considered one of the best creative teams in the industry. Brubaker's creative writing are perfectly paired with dark and gritty illustrations from Phillips.

In addition to the stellar artwork, the panels were perfectly laid out along with wonderful design. From the use of orange tones to tell different parts of the story to the use of flashbacks to delve into Natalie's complicated past brought the entire graphic novel together for a truly top-notch reading experience.

Houses of the Unholy's combination of Satanic elements along with a FBI investigation made for a truly suspenseful crime thriller. While not a rollercoaster ride, there is just enough twists and turns to keep us guessing while not taking away from the flow of the story.

Fans of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips will have no choice but to experience Houses of the Unholy, but even if you have never had the chance to read comics by this creative duo this one is worth taking a chance on for sure. Houses of the Unholy has a gripping storyline, breathtaking artwork, and unforgettable characters that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

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Loved this graphic novel. Anything Satanic Panic is super interesting to me so this seemed right up my alley from just the description.
The art is great and the colour palate of reds really worked with the story.

The writing was enjoyable, I liked the flashback elements of the story, seeing how the past and present are intertwined. It was interesting to see the focus on how the Satanic Panic might influence the children involved in their later lives.

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Not sure if the art was compressed in it, but it looked off.

There is a lot of telling in this book, and I can't tell if the things I didn't like about it I was supposed to equate to the weed. The end was abrupt and almost everything was guessable. Yet I got wrapped up in it anyway? I dunno.

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Very fun graphic novel with a horror underlines. Character development is good and dialogue flows nicely. Fun and engaging graphics. The ending leaves you wanting more.

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Thank you NetGalley and Image Comics for the early access to this book! This was my first graphic novel and I loved it! I was hooked into the story from the start. My only wish is that it was longer! I feel like a lot was left unsaid, hopefully there's more parts to this.

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When I saw Brian K. Vaughn and Joe Hill giving this one praise I obliviously needed to pick it up right away! This one did not disappoint! The art style was fantastic - moving from full color to more of just reds/blacks/yellows when talking about the present and past was amazing. The entire story reminded me heavily of a modern Salem Witch Trials. The Satanic Six were just like the group of young girls that started to point fingers at fellow villagers accusing them of witchcraft. I wonder if the authors drew that parallel as well. I highly recommend adding this one to your TBR!

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Mysterious, bloody, religious horror!
The story follows Natalie Burns, a child victim of the Satanic Panic in adulthood
During a bounty hunt she is stopped by FBI Agent West on a secret mission to track down whose murdering the Satanic Six. Six children who accused a school/church daycare of practicing cult like rituals on the children.
With only 3 of the 6 left and Natalie convinced it was all made up to begin with, she must work Agent West to find the true killer and solve the mysterys of her past

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!

This was a fantastic graphic novel, if not a little bit short. It's no surprise, really - it was written by absolute titans of the comic book industry. The story that this turned out was great - the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, the hysteria that accompanied the decisions people made and how they approached things, and the demons that followed them afterwards. This is a really interesting plot, and it went for it with the story full throttle.

The art style is fantastic, and suits the story so well - the horror elements in this as well are just fantastic. It's not necessarily scary, but it has a heap of intrigue. There is no reliance on style here, but the style is impeccable nonetheless. The story speaks for itself and it's got a lot to say - social commentary for the modern era and the nostalgia of the past as well.

My only complaint is that there wasn't quite enough in the novel as a whole. I was hoping to have a little more expanded, especially when it came to the climax, and I thought there could have been a little bit more fleshing out of the second half of it.

All in all, this was a fantastic graphic novel, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

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This was my first book by Brubaker and it didn't disappoint! I'm ready to dive deep into more by him.

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Houses of the Unholy is a standalone that has us follow Natalie in an investigation into the murder of the survivors of an alleged satanic ritual. There's a very unexpected but intriguing start to this one which gets you hooked pretty quickly.

The art style works well mixing in horror & realism and contributes to the tense atmosphere, the use of colour in flashbacks is also a great device for differentiating the timelines.

Overall, a really tense read with some interesting visuals and set in a pretty interesting backdrop of the satanic scare in the US.

Thanks to Image Comics & Netgalley for the arc.

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this comic book in exchange for my honest review!

This was a very bittersweet read the whole way through. I loved the older art style and even though I was almost in tears by the end of the novel, I still very much enjoyed it. The mysticism and number of unreliable narrator-esque characters gave me very strong "House of Leaves" vibes, anyone who loved that will most love this very melancholy comic!

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i really enjoyed this! the writing was very good, and although it was short I got invested in Natalie's story

(this was an eARC)

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Houses of the Unholy is a horror graphic novel set after the chaos of the Satanic Panic. It follows Natalie, a private investigator who was previously influenced into accusing camp counsellors of satanic torture. She and the other children involved were dubbed as the Satanic Six. Years later, Natalie now works to protect those in similar situations. After getting involved with an FBI agent, the two team up to find the culprit behind the murders of the children from Natalie's past.

I liked this! It ticked all the boxes: good pacing, developed characters, interesting plot and well-thought-through illustrations that added to the allure of the story. It was great to see all of that compacted into 144 pages.

This being my first Brubaker and Philips read, I will definitely give their other works a go.

Thank you to NetGalley and Image Comics for providing me with the ARC!

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This is an author and illustrator team that brings a gritty edge to the comics page. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those who love a good yarn in visual form. Glad to see that Image is taking the storytelling on and giving these creators, a venue for their narrative work.

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First I would like to thank Net Galley, Image Comics, Ed Brubaker, and Sean Phillips for my copy of Houses of the Unholy. This was my very first graphic novel ever. I found it to be very enjoyable. I loved the 80's horror religious cult vibe of the story. I found it to be entertaining and I liked ow the art style meshed well with the story. I also enjoyed the flashback sequences of the graphic novel and being able to see the events that led to present day. Overall I found this to be very enjoyable and easy to read. I would definitely check out more titles by this author in the future.

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Great art and an interesting take on the satanic panic and an idea of what could of happened to people involved afterwards. I did finish this graphic novel with a bit of confusion but that didn't really take away anything from it I just wish a little more work was done to flesh the ending out a bit more.

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My thanks to NetGalley and Image Comics for an advance copy of this graphic novel series by an artist and writer who make noir masterpieces out of America's past, some popular, some forgotten, but all revealing about the world we live in today.

I grew up in the time of the Great Satanic Panic, in the 80's and 90's. I would come home from school, turn on the television downstairs and be inundated with different televisions hosts talking to doctors, cops, lawyers, grifters and the religious about the systematic abuse of children by followers of SATAN. My family were holiday Catholics, weddings, funerals, maybe Christmas if we couldn't get out of it, and most of this was unknown to me. However among the people in school, and my Mom's friends, there was a real fear, and a need to blame others for why there kids were acting so strange, and no we can't blame just the Reagan area where things in America got weird. One can look at this time, children being assaulted, punished and offered up to Satan as a precursor to Pizzagate, and QAnon and all the other fun stuff that makes social media so much fun. Houses of the Unholy is a graphic novel about the Satanic Panic, brought to the present day, reflecting both the time that was, and what we have made today, by the team of writer Ed Brubaker, artist Sean Phillips and colorist Jacob Phillips.

Natalie Burns is a private investigator with speciality in cults, and lots of bad luck. When an attempt to rescue a teen goes wrong, Burns finds herself in a police cell. Here she is approached by a special agent of the FBI, with an intriguing mystery. Burns was once known as part of the Satanic 6, a group of children who blamed a summer group for a whole lot of abuse, and Satanism, which was lapped up by families, cops and others, but was later proven to be all made up. Unfortunately one of those accused took her own life. Agent West is looking into a series of murders, murders of other members of the Satanic 6, and to get out of jail, Burns is asked to assist. As Burns investigates, she finds that there is a lot more going on than expected. All with roots to her past, and a lot of paranoia from today.

Brubaker and the father and son team of the Phillips have a unique gift in that they are able to capture moments from the past, history that has been forgotten or neglected, and use them to build fascinating stories about today. Looking back at the Satanic Panic, I forgot that it was everywhere. Afternoon tv, news magazine shows, magazines. Books. So many lives were destroyed. And as one of the characters says, just think the Catholic Church was actually doing all these things they were blaming Satanists for, and yet so many priests got away with it. I love how these creators capture the time so well, the phone, the way people talked, and carry these forward to today. The story is good, along with the characters, they seem real. Naive in some parts, but real. And also damaged. The art is fantastic. These men must read each others minds in that everything looks so good. People look like people, tired, normal, no ugly, yet not attractive. Real. Cars, cabins, cave, cult hideouts. All rendered well. There is an atmosphere to these books, a darkness, and yet a hopeful aspect. That maybe tomorrow will be better. Though it won't be.

Fans will love it. Also this is a good book to get people on the Brubaker/Phillips train. A dark story, with a little bit of horror, and of course the paranoia that makes life in our United States so exciting. Excited for more works by these men.

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In the 1980s, Natalie Burns and her camp-mates accused counselors of satanic ritual abuse, earning them the title of the Satanic Six, destroying their lives, except none of it was true. In the present day Natalie works on saving children from cults, but when a job goes wrong, she is drawn into a new case by an FBI agent. Other members of the Satanic Six are dying and Natalie might be next. Natalie needs to work with the agent to solve the case.

Once against Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have delivered a great graphic novel. As someone who has listened to all of the You're Wrong About episodes about the Satanic Panic, the backdrop to this story got me very excited, and Brubaker and Phillips did a great job using the elements of that era as a backdrop to this present day story (I got unreasonably excited at the appearance of the book Michelle Remembers). Natalie was an exciting protagonist that I really rooted for, and the story builds to a thrilling conclusion. This was a great graphic novel combining a crime thriller and a satanic horror story that fans of Brubaker and Phillips will enjoy.

Thank you to Image Comics and NetGalley for a copy of Houses of the Unholy in exchange for an honest review

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Thanks to NetGalley and Image Comics for supplying an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'm always excited to read the latest Brubaker/Phillips joint. I can't think of any other creative team working in comics that have the same synergy, and you can always tell they had an absolute blast working together. This was no exception.

The dialogue and the images are both stellar as you would imagine if you've read anything of theirs since they shook the comics world with Criminal.

Using the satanic panic of the 1980's as both a fundamental backdrop for the story and the main character's past was incredibly interesting, especially for me who was only marginally aware of what happened during that time.

The exploration of how such a thing would go on to impact the people who lived through it was inspired.

For me though, the plot itself was a bit of a letdown, from about a third of the way through I knew exactly where it was going and wasn't ever surprised by what happened. If you've read or watched anything concerning cults and/or their fallout you'll be able to predict every twist.

Overall I enjoyed reading it but its not one I'll revisit, 3.5 out of 5 (rounded up) for me.

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A dark, gripping graphic novel that intertwines themes of crime, horror, and psychological drama. The story revolves around an FBI agent from the cult crime division and Natalie Burns, a private investigator with a traumatic past linked to the Satanic Panic era of the 1980s. Natalie, part of the infamous "Satanic Six," is haunted by false accusations of satanic torture that ruined many lives. The plot centers on their investigation into a series of cult-related kidnappings and murders. The narrative delves deep into the psychological scars left by the Satanic Panic, exploring whether one can ever truly escape their past or if it continually haunts them. As they pursue an insane killer hidden in the shadows of the underworld, the story presents a blend of intense, atmospheric horror and noir elements. Brubaker's storytelling is characterized by a blend of hardboiled noir and psychological depth. Phillips's illustrations makes this graphic novel successful, establishing an eerie and sinister atmosphere.

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Thank you Image Comics and NetGalley for a copy of Houses of the Unholy!

"In this new tale, an FBI agent from the cult crime beat and a woman with a past linked to the Satanic Panic are drawn into a terrifying hunt for an insane killer hiding in the shadows of the underworld. This pulse-pounding story asks: can you ever escape your past, or are all your bad decisions just more ghosts to haunt you, wherever you go?"

Finished this during a camping trip and boy did it spook me. I ended up researching Satanic Panic of the 80s and Ed Brubaker's other works. Love when a good read does that!

The Houses of the Unholy is perfect for those looking for a classic cult, horror story with a tight plot and retro/gorgeous comic illustrations!

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First I have to mention the artwork. Absolutely love the artwork and the color palette of this graphic novel. I especially like how the artist incorporated all the red and black to really give that Satanic Panic theme.

Speaking of Satanic Panic. If you are like me, a reader intrigued by that era, this graphic novel will give you exactly what you’re looking for. With half of the story taking place during the Satanic Panic and showing the reader how stories and rumors could ruin lives of many.

I love how the writer went for a past and present tense showcasing our Main character’s backstory. Bounty Hunters, blood and Satanic Cults. What more can you ask for?

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This was a fast paced comic, delving into one of the children who grew and was a victim to the Satanic Panic. I enjoyed the setting and the exposition into the past of the Satanic Panic, but I feel like the ending as wrapped up quite quickly. Overall aesthetics and the plot make it worth it!

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4.5/5. "Brubaker and Phillips release outstanding graphic novels" is as much a truism as "Water is wet" at this point. HOUSES OF THE UNHOLY doesn't break the streak. This latest standalone has some elements of their past work (particularly FATALE, RECKLESS and CRIMINAL) but ultimately stands up as its own work.

Brubaker writes private investigator Natalie Burns about as spectacularly cynical as any educated survivor of the 80s "satanic panics" would be, and Phillips draws her as someone consciously trying to avoid attention. Drawn back into that world of make-believe horror by some very real murders of fellow panic survivors, with a driven but mysterious FBI agent at her side, Burns is ultimately face to face with demons internal and external in a fantastically illustrated and written finale.

The art evokes the signposts of the satanic panics perfectly -- the coercive teachers and child therapists, the collective hallucination that has these kids all telling the same stories, all with the garish materialism of the Reagan 80s in the background. Phillips is a genius at stillness, chaos and everything in between; his panels are alive in your mind the way good movies are.

If there's anything holding me back from a perfect rating, it's probably the climax and ending: It works, technically, and it's entertaining, but it seems a little more thrown together than the airtight conclusions of many other works from this pair. I felt like it didn't have to rush, but rush it did.

Oh well. It's still better than 98% of the other crime comics out there and will satisfy Brubaker/Phillips fans (of which I'm one). Eagerly awaiting the duo's next work -- hopefully more RECKLESS, but anything they do will be well worth reading.

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Houses of the Unholy is a dark dive into collective delusion, online conspiracy frenzy, cults, the satanic panic, and the ensuing fallout for the victims of the people caught up within it's web. It's engrossing and fascinating how it peels back the layers of the issues it talks about through it's well written, slow burn narrative. The author clearly has a lot to say here both literally, and metaphorically about the past and present state of the world we live in, and the real horror is how eerily close to home it hits.

*ARC provided by NetGalley & Image Comics*

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Houses of the Unholy is an 80ies-inspired comic which tells the story of Natalie Burns, one of the last survivors of the "Satanic Six"—a group of children who became famous for their satanic accusations. A murderer is picking them off one by one and Natalie could be next. Together with FBI agent West, she tries to solve the mystery and save her own life.

I really wanted to rate this five stars, but some of the events in the book happen too conveniently. Natalie always seems to be in the right place at the right time. I think we needed volume 1 and 2 or maybe an additional one hundred pages to explore those moments “in between” during the investigation and flesh out the characters a bit more. I still enjoyed reading the story, though, and I definitely recommend it for fans of old-school comics. Natalie is a well written character, and the plot does keep you guessing until the bitter end.

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"and I'm chasing a ghost right back to hell"

Thanks to NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange of an honest review!

The art style is amazing, per usual, the mystery is pretty solid and kept adding more intrigue to the story, the end felt a little rushed but that very last page really brought it all back, and the tension was THERE. Typical Brubaker/ Phillips W

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The title and the creepy little (Poltergeist-esque) girl on the cover really intrigued me.

I had a good time with this comic, I found it difficult to put down at first, there were so many twists and turns. I did lose momentum towards the end and I felt there wasn’t a proper ending - could possibly mean there will be more instalments? But I did find the storyline interesting, it had lots of tension and suspense to keep the pages turning.

The illustrations were good and the colours set the horror tone, with their red and black vibe. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more in this series.

Thankyou to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this for an honest review.

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I love what Brubaker and Phillips do. One of the greatest teams in comics tackling the Satanic Panic? Yes please. Loved the style of the old Chick tracts as flashbacks and nods to real world elements like Michelle Remembers to keep it grounded.
My biggest issue with this volume is it ends too soon. Was building up so much and then it all gets resolved too quickly for my taste.
Still liked their dive into this side of reality and horror just wish there was more of it.

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A really good comic with very good illustrations! The story was really good and it was thrilling. Very horror esque

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This was one of the best comics/graphic novels I have read in a while. I loved the storyline and I literally couldn’t put it down. I read the entire thing in one sitting and stayed up way too late but it was worth it and I would 110% do it again.

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I have been a fan of this team for awhile now, so learning that they would be tackling a story regarding the satanic panic with Brubaker’s typical crime flare made me more than a little excited! I was soooo excited to get my hands on an early copy.

I thought this story & artwork were pretty much up to par with what we’ve come to expect from this team, and I loved the topic. I’ve always been fascinated with that particular time period so it was really interesting to read a story focused around the panic & hysteria that overtook our country at that time. I loved the way they danced on the line between reality & panic. For most of the story this would have been a 5 star read but the ending really diminished the story, it felt like it came too abruptly & left me wanting & needing more.

I have a bad habit of rating things according to my feelings about the ending but I am trying not to do so here. The story here is top notch, & while this classic crime noir art style has never been my fav i do think it works well with Brubaker’s content, including this on!! A strong 4 star read!

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Note: I received access to read this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Another Brubaker and Phillips noir that knocks it out of the park. I only wish the ending wasn't so ambiguous. It feels like there is a lot more story left to tell.

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I always read comics where Ed Brubaker is involved as i generally love them and this one was no exception. The story was really compelling and i found it really gripped me throughout. The art style also helped with that and i found that it helped to sell the narrative being shown by that way. I would like this continue as a series as i found this was such a great read.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Image Comics for this title. 3.8 ⭐⭐⭐

I wasn’t expecting a graphic novel, which I’m sure was included in the description, but it sounded like something that would be an exciting read, and of course, it’s horror, so why not?

The children who were a part of the Satanic Six are being killed, and it’s up to one determined member of that group (Natalie) to get to the bottom of the killings before she is next.

I read this on my phone, and I had to do a lot of manipulation just to read the text and side bubbles, which is the advantage (I guess) of a printed copy vs a digital copy of a graphic novel. I didn’t need the images so much, but the back and forth of zooming out and in just to read it was cumbersome.

It’s a quick story based on the satanic panic in the 80s and early 90s. This infamous group was called the “Satanic Six,” which refers to six kids claiming that horrific things were done to them.

This story delves into a shared trauma, and while a graphic novel, that doesn't take away its effectiveness in telling this story. It may have some triggers because it shows just how vulnerable and susceptible children are to believe what you tell them and plant a seed that creates a narrative. If you hear something enough times, it becomes valid (in your mind) and your story. Children have some of the most vivid imaginations to create worlds of play or horror stories.

This is a great story, but I would have preferred a different format.

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