Written by: Pornsak Pichetshote
Art/Cover by: Aaron Campbell, José Villarrubia
Sometimes it’s easier to rationalize the things we see as being tricks of the light or just our imagination, especially when we think the alternative explanation to be impossible. But how long can Aisha shield her psyche by denying her reality?
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE CREATORS PORNSAK PICHETSHOTE & AARON CAMBELL FOR THIS EXCLUSIVE ADVANCED REVIEW OPPORTUNITY
Issue #2 of Infidel stays faithful to the first issue’s theme of eerie realism. The first issue’s ending left us all wondering what could possibly come next. How could Infidel retain its very true-to-life feel now that we’ve seen the horrors? Would it even be possible to reign it back?
The answer? Yes. This issue pulled us all the way back into reality by utilizing one concept that albeit simple, is crucial to the comic’s aspect of reality: Doubt. After all, who would believe someone who claimed to have seen grotesque creatures? More importantly – who would want to believe that they themselves had seen what they had?
Throughout this issue, the reader witnesses Aisha’s denial of what she’d seen, as well as the disbelief of those around her. Just as it would be for many in reality, the situation is treated as a given fact that the creatures were not real. Issue #2 is a very slow burning, rational issue centered around this theme of denial, and yet by the turn of the final page, the reader is left in shock.
After reading Infidel Issue #2, it has become clear to me that the writer and artist have perfected the art of cliffhangers. By the end of the issue, my mouth was literally hanging open in shock and that doesn’t happen often!
At first, the slow burn of the story in this issue fully had me fooled. The content was intriguing – it was hard not to feel paranoid as Aisha went about her life with this monstrous rain cloud hanging over her head as if something could happen at any moment. I ended up expecting, however, for there to be a few issues of Infidel of calm reality whilst the events of Issue #1 sunk in. So when the bombshell was dropped, I was completely stupefied.
Aside from the events of the story itself, there were subtle, clever themes throughout, much like the symbolism of the monsters for xenophobia in reality. In this issue, the concept that the horrific scene Aisha had seen was her imagination not only works in the context of the literal monsters in the comic but also carries implications for xenophobia and oppression in reality. What I took from this was that members of minority groups in real life are so often told that their oppression occurs only within their own paranoid minds and isn’t actually real, creating a stigma of hysteria and a perception of powerlessness. The insightful symbolism remains my favorite aspect of Infidel.
I have nothing negative to say about this issue at all. From the raw, grisly, yet realistic art, to the sudden twists and turns of the story, I enjoyed this issue even more than the last.