Review – Infidel #5 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Artwork: Aaron Campbell
Colours: Jose Villarrubia
Lettering: Jeff Powell
Release Date: 18th July 2018

The final issue of INFIDEL – Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell’s tightly-woven, impeccably structured horror series – opens, somewhat fittingly, with a gradually spiralling “I’m not racist, but…” conversation.  And throughout the course of this exchange, a conversation we’ll all likely all have heard at some point during our day-to-day lives, we’re given some much-needed insight into the circumstances surrounding the apartment bombing which sparked this whole horrifying affair.

The creeping subtlety of the early issues is sacrificed somewhat here in favour of a terrifying sprint finish as Medina desperately tries to escape the apartment block with her life.  The fact that Aisha isn’t expected to make it through the night adds an even greater sense of urgency to the proceedings, a situation which isn’t exactly being helped by Aisaha’s already-traumatized fiancé Tom getting the complete wrong end of the stick and blaming Medina for the death of their friends.

On the visual side of things, Campbell continues to be at the absolute top of his game, providing some legitimately jaw-dropping panels featuring the almost photorealistic otherworldly monstrosities.  In a medium that doesn’t have the luxury of relying on unnerving soundtracks or cheap jump-scares, Campbell is forced to dig into an almost primal level of horror here, delivering nightmarish panel after nightmarish panel as the vengeance-fuelled spirits close in on Medina, ably assisted as always by the chilling, grotesque colours of Jose Villarrubia.

The themes of faith and trust continue to resonate throughout the course of this concluding chapter, with the real motivations at the heart of the hauntings proving to be something far more sinister and unsettling than mere supernatural meddling.  As expected, Pichetshote and Campbell deliver a poignant and moving conclusion, if not exactly a happy one, bringing things full-circle before leaving a tantalising thread dangling to spark the reader’s imagination – the hallmark of every good horror story, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Ultimately, INFIDEL is something of a rarity these days – a horror comic which is genuinely scary.  Yes, its underlying message of racial intolerance and dealing with the personal biases we encounter every single day is definitely timely, but none of it would resonate quite so emphatically if the story wasn’t so damn terrifying.

INFIDEL is to horror comics what GET OUT is to horror movies; a perfect example of the genre viewed through a remarkably socially aware lens.  The entire creative team should be immensely proud of what they’ve created here, fleshing out a million dollar elevator pitch like “racist ghosts” into something utterly unforgettable.

Rating: 5/5.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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