Comics Korner: Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story #4

By patricksmith - December 29, 2014

Silent Hill Downpour featuredSilent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story has been a hell of a trip, and it looks like #4 is it’s last stop.

The story thus far has focused entirely on Anne’s past, and has been limited to her own perspective of that past, so everything has been relatively skewed. Unfortunately, because the game was released in 2012, the truth of Anne’s father’s death is well known. When the story started, it was a source of great tragedy on a practically Greek level; but as it’s all wrapped up it’s even more horrifying when you consider that all of her pain and suffering has been entirely based on a misunderstanding.  Well excuse me if I’m being blunt, but when you tell a tragedy you batten down the hatches and you follow through!

You can’t go from this…

You may be asking if I wanted to see Anne’s story end badly, and well…YES! Up to this point it’s been made out to be a tragedy! So imagine my disappointment when not only do we see her journey come to an end practically mid-sentence, but the truly horrible nature of that journey and the price that she’s had to pay for her revenge is NEVER ADDRESSED! It’s explained by a simple event, interrupting the tragic flow of the narrative with unexpected, unwarranted, and frankly unwanted truth and realization. That’s right, Silent Hill (the town that punishes people for their sins) protects Murphy by exposing the truth of what happened to Anne. It’s used as a crutch to prevent further tragedy. Let me say this again…

A HORROR LITERARY TOOL (aka the fictional supernatural town of Silent Hill) IS USED AS A CRUTCH TO PREVENT FURTHER TRAGEDY! Since when does a horror story have an agenda to not scare people or make them uncomfortable?

And rather than being a moment of reflection to allow all of Anne’s choices to come crashing down on her with one crushingly horrifying blow, it allows her to steer all of her wrath in the appropriate direction at the last possible moment. Remember the scene in Romeo and Juliet when Romeo kills himself because Juliet’s letter didn’t get to him in time and then she kills herself for real…blah blah blah (Yeah, I probably don’t need to tell you what I’m talking about at this point…it’s Romeo and Juliet.). Well what would that story had been like if she’d woken up just in time to stop him? You would have been happy as you left the Globe, and probably wouldn’t have thought about it again. The reason Romeo and Juliet stands out in our minds is because it’s a tragedy, caused by a simple misunderstanding. The reason we think about it so much is because of just how close it came to having a totally different outcome. Mere seconds…

…to this in a matter of seconds. That isn’t how insanity works.

The biggest tragedy is that without a personal ending that culminates in all of Anne’s choices up to her final confrontation with Murphy to hang our hat on, Silent Hill: Downpour ends lukewarm and without any sense of impact or consequence. Of course this puts me in an unusual situation. This ending is ripped from the game almost exactly, so when you compare both scenes from the screen to the page, the comic comes out on top. It’s just written and drawn better than the acting and the action of the game’s particular cutscene. It also makes the script seem better, though still not excellent. It’s sort of wasted. In the end, since the scenes are taken from the game, at no point do we get the same emotional connection with Anne that we’ve had in the past three volumes. No flashbacks or moments of reflection means no empathy. The game is unveiled through Murphy’s perspective and the cut-scenes are third person omniscient, and without agenda. Thusly, Anne’s Story’s finale lacks perspective and seems flaccid and without conviction.

Silent Hill Downpour: Anne’s Story had us in the palm of their hand by telling a tragic and vile tale, through a tortured protagonist, with a vague directive to align itself with the game’s timeline. It’s made even less restrictive since it follows a character who wasn’t onscreen much in the game, so the amount of division that can be put in to her story is practically limitless, and in that capacity it’s excellent. The original parts of the story take full advantage of the comic medium with Waltz’ script, combined with Jones and Spicer’s twisted art, telling a revenge story so sordid that it could make Edmond Dantès blush. But then at the very end it all becomes embroiled in staying relevant to the game (which I might mention was only “okay” at best), that it abandons any of the great personal tent poles in Anne’s past and settles on the completely basic and morally unaligned ending with no emotional impact or personal perspective.

Oh good, now they’re hugging. Just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore wholesome…

It’s not that this volume is bad, it’s just that it’s so damned disappointing to see it end like this. Maybe you’re the type who prefers to see Romeo and Juliet ride off together in the sunset, but I have gotta be honest when I say that to me life just isn’t like that sometimes; and manufacturing an unseen intermediary force, that’s only real purpose so far has been to scare the s*** out of the characters, to come along and Dr. Phil the entire situation isn’t just a letdown, it’s downright insulting to the entire horror genre. I know people say that horror as a literary form is dying, but I thought that was a bad thing. If Silent Hill (the haunted town of personal torture) is going to start trying to fix people’s problems what’s next? Maybe the Walking Dead zombies are just looking for sponsors for a 5k. Or how about a SAW movie where Jigsaw is trying to organize a surprise party? Or how about a new Friday the 13th where Jason tries to reinvigorate the sex life of a married couple? Is that what we want horror movies to be like now? Friday the 13th Part XIV: Jason goes to Cancun?

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