Infidel is a new horror comic from Image Comics that mixes a modern take on the haunted house. It’s a series that comes after a long line of successes in the horror genre at Image from Scott Snyder’s Wytches to Greg Rucka’s Black Magick, and Jordie Bellaire’s Redlands. Add one more to the list.
So what’s it about?
Read our write up from NYCC.
Why does this matter?
The narrative utilizes Islamophobia and racism which adds a political angle that makes the comic modern but also pertinent. It also showcases a strong female lead living under intense pressure many people will relate to.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Right off the bat, this comic will scare you. Aaron Campbell draws one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever seen that utilized a ghost. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers (hell was that a ghost?) but man does the use of color and angle help make the main character look vulnerable. In this desperate moment, she can’t get away and the reader can’t either. You’re transfixed by her fear and this…thing that is with her. This flows into a recurring theme of the first issue involving dreams. This helps tether the plight of the main character to a reality I think most people can relate to. We’ve all been in a strange place trying to sleep where we thought we heard something, thought we saw something move, and we’re instantly there with her in this scary moment.
Much of this issue builds up the character’s world and the supporting characters. As we learn new tidbits about where she lives writer Pornsak Pichetshote brings in her religion and how that has affected and is currently affecting her life. This establishes a genuine sense of empathy for the character’s life as a whole and only adds to the pressures at home she’s facing. Supporting characters include a friend who knows the protagonist is stronger than others might think, a husband (or is he a boyfriend) who is overprotective and has his doubts about her strength, a daughter in law who loves her to pieces, and a mother in law that seems normal enough, but something is lingering there. It’s in the mother in law character that folks should keep close attention as it adds a layer of domestic horror you may not expect. The layering of character dynamics and character traits helps flesh out the story and make it more realistic and genuine.
The art by Aaron Campbell is quite realistic looking with a thinner line that isn’t afraid to smudge a few pages. When supernatural elements pop in there’s a healthy use of glow that helps set it apart from a monotone use of colors in the real world. That helps make these moments feel fantastical and, possibly, not even real. This further puts you in the head of the main character who may or may not be losing it.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The comic isn’t that clear about who the protagonist is to her husband/boyfriend or her daughter/stepdaughter. You spend a good portion of the comic playing catch up in regards to this element when it doesn’t matter all that much. It does have ramifications as to how the protagonist is related to her stepmother, which in turn makes the dynamic different depending on what is going on. It was an element that lingered in the back of my mind and nagged though it never hurt the overall experience too much.
Is It Good?
Can it be possible Image Comics has another great horror comic on their hands? The answer is yes, definitely. Image is turning out to be the primo location to find the best horror in comics and
You can find Infidel in comic stores March 14th.