Story: John Allison
Art: John Allison
Colors: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
What They Say:
In this thrilling conclusion, Billie and Maggie confront their deepest fears—and marauding mermen. The aftermath will leave both women changed forever, for better or worse.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Steeple draws to a close in a most frustrating way, both in the story itself and in teasing that there may be more. The book from John Allison has been a lot of fun overall, especially because of the style of artwork, but also just in the flow and pacing of it. Getting to know these characters and this quirky little town has been a delight, moving between the two main sides and all the strangeness that exists within it. The previous issue was a good one but it was a little less focused than what came before. Here, everything feels like it’s settling well into what could be open-ended and explored again before it twists and flips the narrative completely.
The main cause of all of this are a pair of women that work at a glamour shop who, a week earlier, did some minor repairs on a vacuum for Mary. They think they’re doing some good but putting a subtle doubt glamour on it so that she’ll get tired of her life of cleaning up after the pastor. The problem is that it’s not used by Mary but by Billie a week later while the pastor is off on some vacation time. Billie, finally feeling like she’s found her place, ends up cleaning to help out after Mary has done so much for her and comes down with the severe doubts. So much so that a vision of satan gives her some seductive images she can’t quite shake all that easily. It’s a crisis of conscience for her that only gets a little help when she meets up with Maggie.
Maggie’s dealing with her own recent reveals and is trying to understand her place as well and the two are able to connect on this level really well. Amusingly, in different ways, they inspire each other to break from the path that they’re on and essentially switch teams unknowingly. I’ll admit, Billie does look “right” done up in the satanist outfit and all, but this totally feels like the wrong path for her. At the same time, seeing Maggie show up looking for asylum over fear of what her darker path is feels right. She gets the crash course in what’s been done at the church fo a hundred years and you can see how she’ll fit in nicely here as well. But the switch of positions doesn’t work for me in the way that I’d really like it to and it just felt forced instead of giving us them in their places, better off, but possibly questioning some.
I really liked Steeple overall and I hope both John Allison and Dark Horse are up for another round of it. It’s the kind of book that I do like in singles since there’s a good bit of material to it with what it does and each installment felt worthwhile and engaging. It might be a bit much in a collection trying to read at once! I really liked all of the characters and this installment finally even made me like Mary and feel for her a bit more. It’s a quirky and weird series that I’m super glad I took a chance on and had a great time with even if the ending frustrates me.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 15th, 2020