True tragedy is hard to write. Many writers write fiction about tragedy, they don’t actually write the tragedy. It’s just hard to do. Pandemonium, from Humanoids, written by Christophe Bec with line art by Stefano Raffaele and color by Marie-Paule Alluard is a truly sad and tragic book about a woman that takes her daughter to a sanatorium for tuberculosis treatments to find that the hospital is both haunted and corrupt to the core.
Bec’s writing in Pandemonium is haunting. His structure is nearly flawless and the way that he built the story of beauty and innocence slowly being trained away in the metaphor of a woman and her daughter falling deeper into illness both exquisite and compelling. This is book is reluctantly a page-turner. No one wants to see these two protagonists fall deeper into hell but Bec’s writing draws the reader further and further into that same pandemonium.
Raffaele and Alluard’s art perfectly captures the same degradation of character and humanity that Bec’s writing establishes. Both the woman and her daughter, although ill, start as beautiful creatures that slowly and sadly decay before the reader’s eyes. Pandemonium’s characters are all unique and emoted, they are all real people with stories that are at least in part told by the visuals of this book.
Pandemonium is a fantastic but sad read, well worth the cost of admission.