There is no easy ending in the final part of A "Song of Crows," the 12th issue of the Bloodborne series from Titan Comics. However, it does feel like Eileen the Crow has reached the end of her rope in this story and concludes with her exhaustion.
Surprisingly, it’s actually almost as wordless as the previous part but less abstract. The issue trades in some psychedelic goth imagery for clearer physical actions and body language. It feels like a silent animated short, reaching a point where words aren’t entirely necessary.
The excellent interplay between the curve and shadow of the brim of Eileen’s hat and her mask to convey emotion continues. There is a fantastic juxtaposition of two panels to demonstrate this, comparing the faces of Eileen and the stranger that’s dominated the arc as they confront each other again.
While knowing what's come before in the story helps in indicating Eileen's sadness and anxiety, how she's drawn supports that too. Again, the way the brim of her hat and its shadows curve up above the dark eye holes of the mask suggest eyebrows turned up in grief. Eileen's hat even looks forlorn, drooping down in sadness.
In contrast, the stranger's hat looks unburdened, standing upright, with a straight-edged brim. It looks more perfect and feels less human. While Eileen's mask is literally more inhuman and structurally closed off, it shows more emotion than the stranger's more human-looking mask. Unlike her, his eyes are visible behind his mask, but they look vacant and empty. It feels reminiscent of issue 10 in the arc.
Out of the select words in this issue, there are those that solidify Eileen’s despair. "There is a hole at the center of my story,” Eileen thinks to herself. “A hole in the shape of grief."
It echoes images seen in previous issues, of her brother sinking through a hole in the ice and drowning, freezing to death while they were still children. It’s echoed more immediately a few panels later, when Eileen falls through a hole in the floor, crashing to a lower level. It’s ambiguous whether this was a pure accident, or the stranger—her supposedly resurrected brother—lured her into a trap and knew the weakness of that spot in the floor.
Like other times before in the arc, Eileen the Crow picks herself up, and again faces the stranger, this time on the rooftop. She comes armed with her weapons—only to ultimately drop them, coming to the decision to let go.
But the stranger tips back, and falls off the roof. She reaches out for the apparent shade of her brother, repeating what she had done with the child vision of her brother in the last issue. It proves futile as the stranger falls into the snow, like her brother had fallen through the ice ages ago.
There’s a slightly unsettling panel that places the reader in Eileen’s perspective, looking down past her foot to the snow, where the stranger lies. It’s like vertigo made more nauseating and twisted by emotional context. And yet when Eileen climbs back down, the stranger’s gone, leaving only an imprint of his body in the snow.
"There is a hole at the center of my story,” Eileen had thought. “A hole in the shape of grief."
In a way, her statement comes full circle in the end. An imprint of the stranger, her possibly lost brother, dips below and breaks the surface of snow. It could be seen as a shallow hole. A hole that Eileen the Crow sinks into after everything, appearing drained and exhausted as she looks into the snowy sky. She literally lies down in the hole left in the shape of her apparent brother, the central source of her grief.
“I—I let go,” Eileen had thought before. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that just as she thinks that, the stranger suggested to be her brother ultimately disappears.
Were you satisfied with the ending of “A Song of Crows?” Do you plan to check out the start of a new arc in the Bloodborne comics with the release of issue 13 in July? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.