Ed Piskor’s ‘Red Room’ continues to shock and push the boundaries of decency. This time round we meet a young woman with revenge in her heart and the obsession and money to do something about it. Another glorious gory issue that ramps the dark, dark comedy up to eleven.
While Ed Piskor’s Red Room is very much a hardcore horror comic for today, this newest issue looks back to the EC Comics of the ‘50s for inspiration. Much like the infamous Cryptkeeper, Vault Keeper or other such nasty narrators, Piskor utilising has own creation throughout this comic to break up the story into three sections. Whether it’s actually needed or not after three issues without one is debatable, but to does offer up a different perspective by using a fourth-wall breaking badass. And much like a Stan Lee scripted comic book of the Silver Age this vile villain relishes in alliteration. It’s a fun inclusion in an otherwise dark issue as Raina Dukes plans her revenge on the murderer of her father and on one of the Red Rooms’ first bonafide stars.
While Raina Dukes is yet another psycho character in a series full of them, she at least holds the reader’s interest as we learn her tragic backstory. A backstory and a life of dogged, obsessive determination. Only before the Crypto-Currency Keeper – the comic’s narrator – interrupts with the story within the story; the life and times of Donna Butcher, a sad, sick story of an abusive childhood, serious mental health problems and sad decline into torture porn. A career Donna excels in and soon becomes its biggest star. Piskor gives us a life of a psychopath as a series of vile vignettes, each one accompanied by a page length portrait of the serial killer art various stages in her life, including the shocking present, where her story collides with Raina’s revenge plot. And while the twist in the tale isn’t too surprising, it’s in the unravelling horror that this issue’s entertainment is to be had.
With a strong focus on a psychopathic character who enjoys the degradation she lives in, and encourages, this has been Piskor’s sickest, madcap issue yet. And that’s saying something!
Red Room #4 is out Wednesday 15th September from Fantagraphics Press