The Me You Love in the Dark #2. Story: Skottie Young; Art: Jorge Corona, Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Letters: Nate Piekos.
Definitely some spoilers ahead so...BEWARE...and stuff.
I’ve awaited this follow-up issue since I read the first page of issue #1 and I was not disappointed. The Me You Love in the Dark #2 from Image Comics introduces an interesting new muse for our protagonist Ro: the entity that exists within her new home. The depictions of this entity... let’s call it a ghost... are straight out of a nightmare: imagine a creature made of darkness that is all lanky limbs and horrific slouching. However, I’m left with mixed feelings about this ghost by the end of issue #2. On one hand, I’m terrified at the sight of it. On the other, it comes off as so kind in its brief conversations with Ro. Perhaps it is a…kindred spirit (I hope you laughed there).
Ro came to this house for solitude, to rekindle her muse through the same rituals she’s always gone through. Now she begins a dialogue with a ghost and we see something new in Ro: a loneliness. I love this gothic, Romanticist approach to the story. The ghost seems (almost) harmless. It’s lonely and recognizes that Ro is, too. It reaches out to help Ro with her art and in return receives company. The supernatural is used here to reflect Ro and the ghost of her early artistic success (yeah, I was an English major). Joking aside, this issue ends with Ro accepting this ghost, and creating her first work of art since moving into the house. Both these moments seem very important moving forward. Though I’m suspicious of where this all could be going, I’m enthralled by the beauty this title offers. The creative team seems to be in a solid rhythm and knows exactly what story they’re trying to tell, nailing the magnificently macabre atmosphere along the way.
Corona’s art is definitely the first thing that pops out at me with every given page. As I said, the mere hints of the ghost’s appearance give me the heebie-jeebies. The house itself is beautifully depicted, and plays a large part in my newfound NEED to own a Victorian home...without the ghosts...or at least one that’s Casper-esque. The art provides detailed settings, creating a real place that these characters occupy, while convincing us as readers that this place holds secrets. Corona uses each panel expertly to show off different angles of the subject, almost resembling film cameras and cinematography. It’s all oddly comforting, but with a hint of tension that gives every turn of the page a certain hesitancy.
Young’s dialogue is just as sparse as issue #1. There isn’t a lot of exposition dumping beyond what there needs to be for us to accept we’ve moved a few story beats forward. The pacing is slow but purposeful. We first got to know Ro in the first issue, now we are beginning to know the ghost with whom she lives. Character work and atmosphere are important and the time has been put in to make these things work in this title.
Beaulieu’s colors and Piekos’s letters are a dynamic team in this issue. The ghost seems to be a living shadow with an inky black color that blends with the shadows on the edge of each panel. The lighting is treated as a character itself, making shadows and illuminating dark corners. One particular example pops out at me. When first speaking to the ghost, the room around Ro seems drained of color. Then the next day, colors return when she decides to accept this being's presence. These colors serve the story so well and even give us clues to the inner emotions of our beloved characters. The ghost’s speech balloons, with their chilling letters and blue/black borders, seem almost to come forth from some abyss. This adds to the terrifying nature of the ghost, as I keep wondering where and what this abyss is.
This creative team is taking their time. Pacing and characters are taking the lead in a story that seems set to dabble in some gothic elements. The supernatural is less dark and demonic here. Instead, the supernatural is merely natural. One lonely ghost reaches out to one lonely artist in a beautiful...Oh my god...I’m just describing the movie Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. Well...this is different because it’s not a romantic relationship type thing...yet. Anyway, this title is using old school gothic traditions and bringing them into the modern day through cryptic dialogue, sensational colors, and overall phenomenal dedication to the “little things”.
Pick up The Me You Love in the Dark #2 September 8th from your LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP or from Comixology! If you aren’t caught up, go find #1 in the same places. Lastly, if you love this creative team, go check out Middlewest on Comixology. It’s rad as hell.