Horror is the most prevalent piece of this issue. The way Francis and Piper play off of each other is set on the back burner in favor of spooky happenings. And spooky it is; the warning the girls received previously to be wary of the woods should have been acknowledged more thoroughly.
Lisa Sterle’s art shines through as the best part of #3. She grasps the opportunity to draw a larger variety of characters firmly — a delight, given the limited cast of the previous two issues. The horrors of #3 are shockingly executed without going overboard. What feels like confidence in her abilities translates to panels of horror that hit you solidly in the chest. Though that’s nothing new with this title, it’s still supremely enjoyable. How she manages to stuff so much into some rather clean panels is beyond me.
This time around Matthew Erman’s writing feels a bit more distant from the overall plot. Whether this is because he’s trying to set up the considerable backstory or because there’s less focus on the sisters, I’m not sure. Both the opening and ending flashbacks feel disjointed from the Silent Hill-esque main story. While I’m well aware that the plot can’t always be laser focused on Piper and Frances, I missed their usual banter.
I feel as if I’ve taken for granted just how good Long Lost is. Issue #3 is far from bad; it’s simply lacking the energy of the other two. A large reason for that is because it’s beginning to incorporate the plot more heavily. To complain that I’m getting more than just the tale of two sisters almost seems ridiculous. Especially considering the story is still intriguing — if not more so — and the hallmarks that make this title unique are still brightly present. It’s simply not an issue that one could jump straight into, as opposed to the previous two.
In the end, I find that issue #3 isn’t so much weaker as it is different — and that’s something that I think might actually draw more readers in. It’s certainly showing its scarier side, morphing from sinister, creepy family bonding to snowballing fear. If this is a hint of how Long Lost is beginning to grow into itself, then I cannot wait to see how far Erman and Sterle take it.
You can pick up Long Lost #3 starting January 31st for $3.99.