If you remember, Wilfred and Norton Sinclair entered the Black Barn and a switcheroo happened. Now tangling with what happened, both Wilfred and Xu spend this issue trying to figure out what to do next with the Smiling Man’s haunted grin hanging over them the entire time. It’s good to see these characters again, and it’s interesting to see how two characters from the two story threads are finally reacting to each other.
One of the most terrifying movies I’ve ever watched was Jacob’s Ladder, a film with Tim Robbins. Robbins faced figurative and literal demons throughout that film. In a similar way, Wilfred - and those touched by the Black Barn - are also eternally affected it seems. The Smiling Man crawls into their memories and into their regrets. You can hear his sort of dislocated voice. It’s not coming from his mouth, but he’s saying it. That has a lot to do with Dave Stewart being on colors and Steve Wands on lettering. The collaboration here on these levels just brings this world together in unexpected ways.
It’s easy to get caught up in the mind-bending elements of the series and forget that it is, in essence, a horror story about normal people dealing with concepts their puny brains can barely grab onto. It would be one thing to just write about it, but Sorrentino’s art captures both elements. The world-warping, esoteric landscape and the human drama are melded together so well.
For a series that’s pretty terrifying, it’s incredibly beautiful and simply well designed.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (story), Andrea Sorrentino (art), Dave Stewart (colors), Steve Wands (letters), Will Dennis (editor)
Publisher: Image Comics
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