The Closet #2 COMIC REVIEW: a balance of childhood fear & adult anxiety tinge a father/son road trip

The Closet #2 (of 3). Writer: James Tynion IV; Artist: Gavin Fullerton; Colors: Chris O'Halloran; Letters: Tom Napolitano; Editor: Greg Lockard; Designer: Dylan Todd.

Thom is a lackluster father. Preoccupied with with self-pity and a yearning for "the life that never was", Thom is oblivious to his son, Jaime, and the terrifying entity that follows him. The monster in the closet lay in the memory of many a childhood, but this fear of the dark and what may lay within never goes away. It's sculpted by the harsher realities of life. The monster becomes that which is unknown and our fear remains the same. Image Comics' The Closet #2 brings these ideas to the forefront in a style of horror that capitalizes on silences, on gaps, and the debilitating fear that can result from things unsaid. Thom and Jaime make a stop at longtime friend Mack's house as they travel cross-country to their new home, unaware that their rest stop may not be as restful as they hope.

Tynion IV must stoke his ego on my praise alone, though nothing short of a comics dumpster fire would make me stop. Tynion is in top form this issue, using empathy and flawed humanity as a lighthouse in the darkening horrors. Conversations between Thom and Mack are blunt yet strikingly familiar in their down-to-earth realism. Each voice belongs to a character and helps establish histories without explicitly dumping exposition. Napolitano's lettering only complements this history, lending dialogue a raw, unscripted feel.

Fullerton and O'Halloran's art and colors, respectively, alternate darkness and harsh light. Under the harsh light of an interrogation lamp we see our characters exposed and vulnerable. Opposing scenes of darkness seem strangling as the saturation of shadows seems sinister, as if hiding something in its depths.

Overall, The Closet #2 works as a solid intermediary issue that's more concerned with curating empathy and emotional complications than actually shocking you with brutal horror. This approach server to exaggerate the horror elements, honing them for maximum effect. With a character-first mentality that breeds attachment and anxiety, The Closet #2 demonstrates a carefully planned creativity that only seems to be getting better, earning this issue 4 POPs out of 5, leaving one to grow on.

Be sure to pick this book up (on sale now!) from either Image Comics here or from YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP!

In terms of some recommended reading, I highly encourage you to seek out the horror comics magazine co-headed by Tynion himself: Razorblades: The Horror Magazine Year One Omnibus. If that doesn't tickle your fancy and you'd like more subversively horrific materials, check out The Department of Truth and The Nice House on the Lake here!


Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.

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