'The Me You Love in the Dark' is More Than A Great Title
We review the new spook story from Skottie Young, Jorge Corona, and Image Comics.
There are titles, and then there are TITLES. The Me You Love in the Dark is so deliciously evocative that I was almost afraid to crack into the pages. Skottie Young and Jorge Corona are indisputable talents, and whatever comic they touch is worth attention, but could anyone possibly top a moniker so mysteriously rich? The only direction from the masthead is down.
Oh damn, what's this? A first issue that does indeed deliver on that radical name and leaves you thirsting for time to speed so your fingers can rip through the next one? Hell yeah. Young and Corona pull off a mini-miracle finding the perfect tale for the perfect title.
We can't escape haunted houses. It's a genre that everyone wants to play inside: Hill House, Allerdale Hall, the House on Neibolt. Constructing a residence to match these murderous dwellings is impossibly tantalizing, and often, creators fall short. They focus too much on the backstory, the creaky floorboards, and the other assorted boos; they forget the personality.
We've only just met, but the old haunt in The Me You Love in the Dark is bursting with character. Oh, and I can hear you already, "That's what they all say, Brad, the city is another character in the story, the architecture is another character in the story, blah, blah, blah." No, no, that's not what I'm talking about here. This house is a character. I'm sure it's got wants. I'm sure it's got desires. But we're not going to find out what they are in issue one.
Ro Meadows needs to flee. She's a painter seeking inspiration, and her usual surroundings are no longer cutting it. Change the scenery, change your life. She's renting this habitat so she can lose herself in her work. Ro understands that former residents may have bellied up, and she's actually hoping this place speaks to her. And we're on the sidelines muttering, "Be careful what you wish for."
Jorge Corona thrusts the house's character into every panel. Not only do we see its presence drift from box to box via this white, sketchy caterpillar swirly, but we also sense it through the angles he selects for our observation and the shadows he blots into particular corners. Jean-Francois Beaulieu's colors ramp up the house's nature as well, allowing the sun to enter where it wants. The lighting is welcome, but only on the house's terms.
The Me You Love in the Dark #1 is a getaway reading experience. The narrative is racing you toward a climax, but when it hits, the breaks smash hard. There's a single panel that drops near the end that seemingly caused the wind in my apartment to whoosh and my skin to riddle with gooseflesh. I'm not sure if I dropped the comic in my lap so I could check the corners of my place, but it feels like I should have at that moment. Young and Corona build the entire issue around this tiny little rectangle, and when it arrives, it's an incredibly satisfying wallop.
Where do we go from here? I'm not sure. The Me You Love in the Dark could venture off into numerous directions. While it's a haunting comic, I'm not even sure if it's a horror comic. It gave me at least one jolt, but the panels that come after don't necessarily scream a nightmare circus. This could be a saga book, or a mystery, or a romance. Ro wanted inspiration, and she's got it. What she does with it, and what it does with her, could result in many genres.
Quickie Review: The Me You Love in the Dark is more than a great title; it's a compellingly spooky investigation promising infinite directions. The art is stellar, the characters curious. A perfect ten comic book? Can we deliver two of those in two weeks? Guess so. More please. 10/10
The Me You Love in the Dark #1
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letterer: Nate Piekos
On Sale: 8/4/21
Synopsis: Writer SKOTTIE YOUNG (I HATE FAIRYLAND, Deadpool, Strange Academy) and artist JORGE CORONA (NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, Super Sons, Feathers) follow up their critically acclaimed series MIDDLEWEST with a brand-new haunting tale. An artist named Ro retreats from the grind of the city to an old house in a small town to find solace and inspiration without realizing the muse within is not what she expected. Fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman will enjoy this beautiful, dark, and disturbing story of discovery, love, and terror.