A House Of Mystery And Others Spooky Surprises: Reviewing ‘Canary’ #4

by Olly MacNamee


Scott Snyder and Dan Panosian’s ‘Canary’ #4 builds on the tension of previous issues by injecting even more supernatural mystery of the supernatural persuasion into this Western tale. Cowboys and creepiness in equal measure, with an abandoned, yet grandiose house, full of secrets too! American Gothic has never looked so good.


While most comic book reviews written – including my own – focus on the script first and art secondarily, what Dan Panosian is achieving on Canary, is nothing short of magnificent. Not only does he breathe life into even the most peripheral character – just check out his crowd scene outside the Canary’s Nest Hotel – but his eye for capturing the rugged, majestic landscapes of the wild, wild west that we have come to know through the Western genre, is without parallel. The sweeping, textured brushes of orange that populate each vista compliment the rough, iconic mountainous landscape that once offered settlers both risk and reward. As the title of the comic would suggest, alluding to the small town our central characters find themselves in, the landscape is as much a part of this comic book as the supernatural story being scripted by Scott Snyder who is clearly well versed in Western conventions. I cannot find words enough to do it justice, and as a digital-first offering it really pops on the screen too. If you aren’t reading it yet, even after this rather superfluous attempt to express my admiration of Panosian’s art, then you truly are dead inside. There’s something in his style that remind’s me of classic Jack Davis (MAD Magazine) art, a style I adored as a kid and still hold as something of a benchmark to this day. Dan, you’re in very good company, my man.

Matching the art is Snyder’s script. And, while Snyder is a man of many, many words, thanks to the aforementioned backdrop of expansive horizons and immense, rocky ridges, a balance is achieved effortlessly. I have to say, out of all of Snyder’s second wave of titles, this one is his crowing glory. And, as we have seen in the comic book that made him, American Vampire, Snyder sure can do Western-horror.

As Snyder begins to play up the supernatural elements to this story, in this issue we get a suitably creepy abandoned house in the hills, with secrets aplenty within. The perfect gothic inclusion for a thrilling, immersive read that will pull you in as Snyder and Panosian ramp up the creeps. And, to help build up the tension, Snyder switches the action back and forth between two scenes. As Will and his companions search through the aforementioned house in the hills, in Canary we get a revelation that, on the surface, seems like a miracle, but is clearly far from it. As the final page reveals. 

Canary #4 is out now on comiXology 

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