The A Song of Crows arc continues from its intentionally confusing beginning, in which Eileen the Crow appears to be displaced in time, with the second and third parts adding more questions than answers. They also add some clues as to what may have happened to Eileen, but if you’re reading these comics then you’ll need to really take in the details to make sense of what is going on. At one point Eileen states she’ll never know her own story, and I think that’s to warn us, the readers, that we’ll also never truly know everything about this arc.
Issue #10 begins with Eileen wrapped up in some kind of nightmare about a version of herself that is rotting away, possibly telling her of a future that could come to pass. She seems bothered by it and continues to be confused about when she is in time, though fully aware of where she is, the cursed city of Yharnam. The city is a background character this time as Eileen’s thoughts drift to areas outside the city’s walls and the woodlands and lake that may hold memories of her past.
One of the key characters that haunts Eileen is a child, though how they’re related to her is a mystery, like so many things in this series. What we can see is that the child appears to have drowned in the lake, though how that came to pass is also unclear. Suddenly time seems to jump and Eileen finds herself in a fight in the woods which comes up suddenly. The way Eileen reacts makes it feel like she knows the attacker, but even here you’re never quite sure if this event is actually happening or if it’s all part of her imagination.
The whole of comic #10 seems to be interwoven with the theme of loss and confusion, with that masterfully imprinted on the reader because you can relate to Eileen as she struggles to understand what is going on. Strange praise, I know, but being able to establish that link with so few words and mostly through the art is something that has to be commented on.
If #10 is about confusion then #11 is about clarity and in this part barely a word is said at all. The whole comic plays out in a single scene that is little more than two entities staring at each other. Time once again plays a part as you are not sure how much of it passes. Another major theme is sight and there is a lot of focus on eyes.
It can be a bit disturbing but I also recommend reading both comics one after another due to how much they link. The final words of comic #11 are a culmination of everything that happens in both, and the impact is stronger when they are read together.
With so few words in either issue, the artwork has a much bigger role to play, and in both it continues to be drawn very well. Each panel has great attention to detail, hinting to what is happening elsewhere and what may have already happened. As you’d expect, the art is full of disturbing imagery from decapitated heads to bizarre ritual scenes that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.
These issues have set up an intriguing finale for Eileen’s arc, as they leave no obvious clue as to what the conclusion will be. Whatever the final issue has in store I’m sure that it won’t tell the whole story, just as Eileen says, but it may give us some clarity.