Once a famous film ahead of its time in the special effects department, but also a book by the late great Richard Matheson. With strong source material one imagines an adaptation can’t fail, but that’s not a guarantee. How is issue #2 though? Is it good?
The Shrinking Man #2 (IDW)
The last issue was a fantastic introduction that was deftly paced with strong characters and an underlining issue many men face these days. That’s erectile dysfunction, but don’t think that’s the main purpose of the book. It’s simply the underlining truth and symbolism behind the concept of a man who in only days shrunk from 6 feet to now 5/7ths of an inch. His life has become focused on one goal: do not starve. Without any help from his family or friends he’s resorted to climbing a fridge for some Saltines, all the while a spider is hunting him down. Talk about a nightmare.
Ted Adams writes a strong second issue here, although it is a bit too preoccupied with the trials of a man who looks like a small boy. I didn’t read the source material (it’s probably a big part of the original work) but it isn’t the most interesting aspect of the series. I for one would rather find out what occurred on those last days when he was still known to his family and how he became estranged from them in his super tiny form. That’s coming in a future issue I’m sure, but this issue focuses on the protagonist dealing with a pedophile who picks him up and later schoolyard bullies.
The life of a tiny person.
Part of the reason these scenes don’t quite work for me is because they aren’t played up as scary. At least not scary enough. The way they are portrayed and paced they feel like things that happened. There’s no drama, risk of threat or danger. It’s creepy as hell that a pedophile drives the protagonist around always trying to touch his leg, but we’re never worried he’ll actually be hurt by this monster. It is a nice warning to parents, and an interesting concept of a man seeing what it’s like to be a child with all their dangers, but for the sake of this plot it reads like extra scenes that aren’t necessary.
Meanwhile, there are scenes with the 5/7 of an inch sized man fighting a cat, witnessing a mysterious figure enter his basement and battling a spider. These sections are strong and are the most interesting.
The art by Mark Torres continues to look great with a nice sense of pace due to some well planned layouts. The sections where the protagonist is tiny work really well and the size and scope feel very dramatic. I can’t say his rendition of the protagonist as the size of a small boy work perfectly as the character looks oddly childlike when he should just be smaller, and heads and bodies almost seem to be drawn separately from each other. Facial expressions can get a bit wonky in this issue too, but the most dramatic moments all work solidly.
I love that bottom layout.
Is It Good?
I continue to enjoy this series even though it takes some asides into the realm of a man trapped in a body that looks like a little boy. These scenes are interesting, but don’t feel like they fit in the overall narrative. That said I’ll continue reading regardless.