Erzulie and Ananse battle in House of Whispers No. 9


House of Whispers continues to weave wonderful stories.

There’s something nifty about reading stories about gods; perhaps it’s the insights into their mighty powers, or the surprising humanity displayed by beings who so often use mortals as playthings. In House of Whispers, the reader follows the adventures of Erzulie, goddess of whispers, as she deals with a whole mess of trouble. Written by Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters, drawn by Dominike Stanton, colored by John Rauch, lettered by AndWorld Design, with a cover from Sean Andrew Murray, this foray into a recently-created section of Sandman lore is replete with pan-African deities, subtle and blatant references to the greater Sandman universe, and insightful looks at the nature of humans, gods, and everything in between.

Vertigo Comics

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A battle for the souls of the innocent takes place in House of Whispers

At the end of the last issue of House of Whispers, Ananse, the spider god, challenged Erzulie to tell a better story than him; if he lost, he would help separate her god-husband from her house, if she lost, the souls of Toya and Mags would be his, along with Erzulie herself. This issue starts with Erzulie telling the story of the time she went to hell, a century ago. She ran into Mazikeen, got swallowed by a hellwyrm, used piranha demons to eat a path out of the dragon, and did some quality bonding with our favorite Harvey Dent-influenced demon. Ananse thinks her story is garbage and begins to tell one about Habibi, Maggie’s little sister. She’s swinging on the swings and launches herself off, seemingly doomed to a painful landing. Erzulie asks Damballa, her other husband, to help Habibi once again, and he does, flying down from outer space to wrap her in his ghostly snake coils and place her gently on the ground.

Vertigo Comics

House of Whispers wraps stories within stories

Ananse is agitated by Erzulie’s interference in his story, so he continues to focus on Habibi by having another minor god give her a book from Dream’s library. Right at that moment, Habibi comes upon a group of homeless people, two of whom happen to be Maggie and Latoya, still minus their souls, eating garbage, looking generally terrible. Habibi opens the book and reads some mystical spell that finally reunites the ladies’ souls with their bodies, while also transporting them to somewhere unknown. Erzulie puts up a fight against Ananse and gives Theodore the Goose a serpent pendant, to be thrown through a particular door in her house. Teddy runs into the Corinthian, as he tosses the pendant where he’s supposed to. And we see that the three women have been brought to the inside of the hellwyrm, just as Erzulie herself had, long ago.

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This issue had a whole bunch of crossover references and shout-outs to past issues, like any good, involved comic should. It was particularly nice to see Mazikeen, who at this point deserves her own miniseries for all the times she’s been a minor character in other peoples’ stories, such as Lucifer and the original Sandman series. One cool thing about House of Whispers is that Stanton doesn’t much care for panel grids, of any number. Instead, he chooses to have wild angles and panels that bleed into others, creating a unique reading experience. 8/10, recommended. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.