A thought provoking chapter in this excellent horror series.
The scariest, most modern haunted house comic is back this week and it’s a great time to jump on now. Just a few days ago it was reported this series was picked up for a movie deal. If a movie producer wants to throw a couple million at this story one can only imagine this is prime time horror writing! The visuals by Aaron Campbell certainly help too.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Following last issue’s devastating events, the mysterious entities haunting Aisha’s home escalate their attacks. As the nightmare spreads to her friends and neighbors, the creatures expose their true natures and long-buried hatreds.
Why does this matter?
Aside from this being picked up to be made into a movie after only two issues, this is also just good comic storytelling in its own right. The story mixes racism and different types of fears (like that of being a mother facing your mother-in-law’s judgement) into a story that has a mystery we can only begin to understand.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is all about the fallout after Aisha’s mother-in-law fell down the stairs to her death. It picks up with Aisha in the hospital in a coma which allows writer Pornsak Pichetshote to explore the supporting characters and their point of view on Aisha’s actions and the house itself. Pichetshote probes each character and reveals some hidden racism amongst them as well as each character’s opinion on what is going on. Considering someone died, Aisha is in a coma, and her daughter is knocked out, everyone is grasping at straws to understand what is happening. This helps convey the confusion and doubts people feel, further connecting the horror narrative to real life causes.
An interesting conversation is brought up concerning racism which will have you thinking. If someone tells you they aren’t attracted to black people, are they racist? The comic makes you think about this and other issues of race while it slowly unveils the cause of the horrors. Considering how so much of this book is about real life fears, one can only imagine the apparitions in the house are caused by hate or fear inside the people of the apartment.
Campbell does a good job with this issue, particularly when we see through the eyes of the ghosts and when the ghosts jump out at you. The visuals are morbid, twisted, and shocking in just the right ways. Seeing Aisha at the end, bleeding with her eyes rolled back in her head, is also upsetting. In another scene, we get a look at some journals and they look shockingly realistic. The book has a gritty look throughout which suits the themes and hints at a corrupt underbelly.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The plotting is slightly clunky opening with Aisha’s friend, cutting to some texting that is awkward, and then cutting back to the friend again. Later we get a recounting of the terrorist act that has been hinted at from the first issue and that cuts to an awkward double page layout of Aisha’s friends discussing what they think has happened. The scenes cut from one to another with no detail on how much time has passed or where we even are. It’s disorientating in a way that I don’t think was intended.
Is it good?
This issue is strongest at discussing racism and the implications of that. Sartre has said Hell is other people and I’m starting to wonder if that’s the real meaning behind the horrors of the house. Either way, this is a very scary and thought provoking story.