Bone Parish #5 — by the writer Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, The Unsound), artist Jonas Scharf (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), and colorist Alex Guimaraes — sets-up the power struggle between two rival families for the operation of a unique drug, but others begin to emerge as well. The drug’s name is Ash and derives from dug-up corpses. It has the capabilities of allowing the user to experience the memories of the dead but at a unique price. Grace Winters is the matriarch of the family who originally brought the item into the market. On the other hand, the Mexican cartels make their move because Ash digs into their profits. This powerplay results in a member from each family dying in order to send a message to each group. As the cycle of vengeance starts, the readers wonder how far the blood spill will go and who will be left to take the profits.

A Graveyard Of Writing To Bring Back From The Dead In Bone Parish # 5

After the deaths of Wade and Raphael in Bone Parish #4, the period of mourning begins for both families before they go to war. These families bring new pieces into play as they recruit muscle and tear apart old ones for their disloyalty. We see honest emotions come from the Winters as they mourn their sibling. I like how the writing begins to destroy the crutches they have to cope with their dysfunctional lives.

Bone Parrish #5
Boom! Studios, 2018

I contemplated their bond for a long time, since they’re the de-facto protagonists. I find that their separate story arcs aren’t as interesting as how they interact with each other as a family. Their motivations are a tad lacking without the consequences they give onto another member of their brood. While flashbacks provide depth, they add their fair share of confusion as questions are brought up as a result. The horror isn’t what creeps into the dark as much as how far people are willing to go for their power. It’s what these characters have lost that hangs over them like a ghost rather than an actual ghost that eats your organs.

Art In Bone Parish #5 Gives An Hazy Aura Of Pain

I liked how the art brings nebulous energy to the plot. There are visual indicators to point out who is high on Ash, but it becomes more ambiguous as the story thickens. You’re beginning to feel like you’re not sure of the true reality in Bone Parish #5 and you appreciate the art for trying to make you think about the layers. I further like the anatomy of the characters because they have different features, which I appreciate.

Bone Parrish #5
Boom! Studios, 2018

The art direction gives you some ideas of what Ash can do to a person and the dead who’s used for the product, but not all of the pieces. The uses of purple are also really quite pretty against the blue backdrops. It brings out the somber nature of leaving the past behind you. When gore occurs, the death scenes do provide shock value. They hit hard because you can feel the grief on these characters’ faces because they’re used to not showing pain. I enjoy the depth of pain you can see because the reactions make the horror.

Why Should You Buy Bone Parish #5?

Bone Parish #5 brings you the calm before the storm. You’re waiting desperately to see the climax of the next issue as everyone sets up for a fight. What is also of interest is the characters’ realization of what Ash can do to a living person. After all, recreational drugs do have their consequences. A lot rides on the next issue to capitalize on the interesting questions posed in this set-up comic. The answers should become clearer as we get near the conclusion of this horror series.

Bone Parish #5 is putting all the chess pieces in play for a no-holds beatdown and time will tell whether it'll live up to its promises.
Strong Set-Up For What's To Come
Artistically Interesting to Look At
Members as a Unit Are Fascinating
Hasn't Quite Pulled Off Unique Characterization
A Lot Rides on The Sixth Issue