Generally speaking, Ted Naifeh's "Courtney Crumrin" series is a lot of fun and a comic that I look forward to seeing more of. So it's nice to see that after a brief hiccup a couple of months ago, "Courtney Crumrin" #7 continues the general trail of excellence for th e comic.
If you've never read "Courtney Crumrin" before, it had several mini-series which set up the premise quickly and efficiently; Courtney is a sharp-witted girl who is drawn into a dark magical world with the aid of her magic-using great uncle Aloysius, although it's brains that solves the day as often as magic. The new ongoing series has turned all of that on its head, though, with Courtney now on the run from most of the secret witches of the world, and with her Uncle Aloysius as the one leading the charge after her.
It's nice to see the series unafraid to switch the status quo up a bit (it was a brilliant cliffhanger back in issue #4), and here it pays off in spades. It plays on the bond that's built up over the years between Courtney and Aloysius, and even better it pairs Courtney up with Calpurnia instead. Calpurnia's always been a good supporting character within the "Courtney Crumrin" comics, but here she's made the leap to a central figure that can command the attention of the reader. Watching her go after other members of the coven is fun; in part because she's got some serious firepower, but also because she's in many ways the adult Courtney. She's a little snarky, she's whip-smart, and she's always under-estimated by people who really should know better by now.
Naifeh also expands the mythos a bit in this new storyline. Leaving the forested familiar territory for the green-hued swap is a nice change of pace, and Ms. Olds explaining the origin of magic to Courtney ended up being much more fun than you might think. Of course, between Ms. Olds' giant wooden skeleton golems and the terrifying army of dolls piled up behind the couch, there's more than enough to entertain the reader in terms of variety. That's part of what I think works so well with "Courtney Crumrin" #7; Naifeh throws all sorts of new things at the reader, and with great effect.
Naifeh's art is strong as ever. I had to laugh when Aloysius shot a web at Calpurnia's car (it felt a tiny bit like an audition for "Amazing Spider-Man") but it's a fun, energetic moment with Aloysius and Courtney both bounding through the air. It moves quickly, and each image is carefully composed. Even little bits like Trianne's hands steaming with energy holds a punch, and that's before you get to the big moments like homes skittering away on legs, or massive underwater golems attacking. Colorist Warren Wucinich continues to make himself an integral part of "Courtney Crumrin" as well, and I especially appreciated how when the book changed locations we slowly got a brand-new color palette infused into the visuals to help make that transition.
I might have been less than thrilled with the recent break in the narrative a couple of months ago, but ultimately it was in part because the current story is so good. "Courtney Crumrin" #7 is a thoroughly entertaining comic; if you haven't read Naifeh's best creation, this is a good a place as any to give it a whirl.