In The Midst Of Chaos, Who Will Survive? Reviewing Infidel #5

by Brendan M. Allen

The critically acclaimed horror hit of the year concludes with a spectacular and truly shocking extra-sized finale. Secrets behind the haunting are finally revealed, even as the horrific murders continue. 

A devout Muslim, in an interracial, interfaith engagement with a man who came with a daughter from a previous marriage, living with her casually racist future mother-in-law. Also, the building they live in is full of overtly racist neighbors. Oh, and, it’s probably haunted. By creatures that feed off hatred and xenophobia. That’s how Infidel came onto the scene back in March.

By the time Infidel #5 opens, we’ve seen Aisha’s world completely collapse. Her MIL Leslie is dead. Aisha and Kris are both unresponsive in the ICU. Sendhil and Ethan are dead, and Tom bursts onto the scene to find Medina, covered in blood, standing over their mangled corpses.

Pornsak Pichetshote lays it all out in this final chapter. Over and over, the reader is shown exactly what’s happening and exactly how we landed here. Then we see how each of the principals’ experiences color their perception of the events. What started subtly, with a sweet old woman refusing to accept her future daughter-in-law’s dietary restrictions, escalates to outright murder and mayhem.

Aaron Campbell and Jose Villarrubia deliver some of the creepiest visuals in comics. I’ve mentioned Ben Templesmith and Dave McKean in describing the art on this series. The characters are almost photo real, and then the monsters take that photo realism to a whole other twisted, unsettling level.

I saw a motivational speaker many years ago who placed a small boulder in a volunteer’s hands. “Consider this rock,” he said. “We can have a great many discussions about whether this rock is pretty or ugly. We can talk about the processes that formed this rock and what it is composed of. We can talk about the shape, the weight, the smoothness and roughness of this rock. But, at the end of the day, we must agree here is a rock.”

This is why this series exists. Infidel displays pure, blind hatred. Gives it a face. Perceptions and biases are clearly exposed. And it all starts with, “Hey, let’s look at some horrific scenarios here, and see how people with different experiences and levels of social privilege reconcile what they’re seeing. Do what you want with the information, but let’s at least agree this is a real thing. Hold this boulder.”

 

Infidel #5, published by Image Comics, released 18 July 2018. Written by Pornsak Pichetshote, art by Aaron Campbell, color by Jose Villarrubia, letters by Jeff Powell.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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