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Missing since: 21 Jul 2003
Notes left: 11978
Last seen at: Nova Scotia, Canada
Silent Hill Past Life #4 Review

As this is the final issue of this miniseries, and as such is only enjoyable if you don’t know what is coming, I shall try my best to avoid explicit spoilers in this review.

Last issue we learned about Jebediah’s connection with Helene and Jonas Leek, as well as Sherriff Creviston. We also got hints of Inola’s interest in Esther’s unborn child and of Jebediah’s loss of self control in the face of the events of this miniseries so far.

In this issue, of course, everything comes to a head with a climactic showdown between Jebediah, the Leeks, and Creviston. It is as expected by his past with them bloody and brutal. The real drama, however, unfolds inside the Foster house as Esther goes into premature labour. Her midwives? Inola and the skull-faced creature seen haunting the pair throughout the miniseries, the identity of whom is revealed in this issue.

The tension of the scene outside the house combined with the one within are palpable and engaging. Dialogue in this issue is less nuanced and more direct in this final issue than in the prior three issues, and many elements of the story are left unexplained. One character in particular is still as cryptic at the end of the story as they were at the beginning, although this character is almost certainly going to be revisited in Silent Hill: Downpour. The fates of several characters are also left unexplained, which may turn off some readers as much as it will please others, as the final fate of characters going unexplained or unresolved are arguable trademarks of the Silent Hill series.

The answer as to why this story may not “feel like Silent Hill” to some readers is also explained in this issue. Forget Silent Hill: Origins. Writer Tom Waltz offers what may be the true “origin” story of Silent Hill and the bizarre events that surround it in this series. I would argue that this series provides an explanation (so far as one may be given) for just what triggered the powers of the area. Surprisingly, this origin story is one of revenge. It seems somehow fitting that a very human story of grief and revenge is what underlies all the passion plays that unfold hundreds of years later, from the Masons to the Sunderlands to the Shepherds. We also see in this final issue what is arguably the first instance in which the town of Silent Hill becomes a desolate ghost town, which we know has happened more than once in its history.

What can I saw about Merton3’s art that hasn’t already been said in my past three reviews? It’s moody, abstract, and adds tremendously to the impact of the series. There is also a wonder splash page in which a character rides a horse through the dark, now foggy streets of Silent Hill that evokes the town as it is in the games, only in frontier times. It’s a striking image, and one that makes me hope Downpour has some parts that take place in frontier times.

Ultimately, Past Life works as a character driven tragedy. As Waltz is writing Downpour and the one character I mentioned before certainly ties into that game, I am absolutely convinced that this story isn’t entirely finished. One may complain that a miniseries should stand on its own rather than require readers to follow up on it in Downpour, but as this is a video game tie-in I think readers should expect and welcome its possible connection to the upcoming sequel. If Downpour does indeed tie into Past Life, then Waltz may have found the perfect way to have a sequel that eschews the tired cult storyline to focus on something new. This goes beyond the tired “hidden guilty past” deceit of Silent Hill 2 and Origins as well. Thus, Downpour may end up being what the series desperately needs: a new focus and theme without being a reboot. One that doesn’t ignore the first six canonical games but, much like SH2 originally did, goes in a new direction.

Issue rating: 7/10

Series rating: 7.5/10

"I dreamt last night I saw you
A single spark explosion negotiating with the dead
By the bright lights in some ICU on my chest you put your head
and said "There you are.
There you are.
There's my heart..."


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Missing since: 09 Jun 2010
Notes left: 494
Edit-Oops, didn't realize we couldn't post in the topics, sorry, my bad.

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