Through Ultan’s Door #2

Issue 2 of Through Ultan’s Door (2020) is my favorite. Is it because it has a Russ Nicholson cover? It certainly helps, yes. Nicholson’s ornate style is perfect for this  dream/nightmare.

It is a tricky thing to present something that is beautifully fascinating while also being horrifically dangerous. Such is the case with the catacombs of the fleischguild, an organization that seems to have an enthusiasm for Clive Barker’s cenobites. It strikes me as a gorgeous place to die, or a place to die gorgeously. I am not sure which. Stuff like this usually leaves me a bit cold or a bit squeamish, but Laurence imbues it all with the distance of a dream — the terrors are there but not there. You experience an echo of them but you don’t feel them in the same way you might in cruder matter.

Most of the zine is dedicated to the catacombs. Again, there are factions, this time their shared existence is more strained. There are new spells, some strange items. My favorite bit is the new rules for dreamers, which present a selection of strange rewards for leveling up in the land of slumber. Some are gifts, some are not.

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