Advance Review: Abusive Relationships Abound In `A Foulness In The Walls’
by Tom Smithyman
Writer Cullen Bunn returns to his horror roots with this oversized one-shot tale of a man dealing with a putrid smell emanating from the wall of the house he just bought. It’s a strong story that will get you think about the relationships in your own life.
As destructive as they are abusive relationships can be hard to break out of. Whether it’s the abused partner’s lack of self-worth or the feeling that even a bad relationship is better than no relationship, breaking up is hard to do.
George, the protagonist in A Foulness in the Walls, was only able to get out his last relationship because his mom died. He spent all of his time with her, making sure she was fed. When she passed, the debt from her senior living facility was crippling. So he bought the only house he could afford. One that smells really, REALLY badly. And that led him two his next abusive relationship. Or two.
This one-shot, written by Cullen Bunn, is a tight tale of horror, sadness and, ultimately, loneliness. Imagine being so dependent on someone else – even someone who is constantly taking advantage of you – that you would do anything to stay in the relationship. While it’s a foreign concept to many of us, we probably all know someone who is in the same head space as George. And that is the real horror of this story.
Artist Rodrigo Zayas is challenged by the story’s main antagonist – a horrific smell that gets worse every day. It’s so bad, in fact, that it wakes George out of his sleep. It’s no easy task, but between Zayas’ depictions of George covering his nose and mouth – and eventually vomiting from the putrid stench – he convinces us that this is a house we won’t be visiting any time soon. He’s ably assisted by colorist Lorenzo Scaramella, who shifts the palate dramatically to set the appropriate mood.
The creative team gives us a twist near the end of the book that turns this horror story into a true tragedy. Spoilers prevent revealing too much, but suffice it to say that George will do anytime – literally anything – to get back into a relationship, even if it’s the wrong one.
This one-shot serves as a fantastical warning for all of us – a reminder to be comfortable in our own skins and to find and set our own boundaries.
A Foulness in the Walls will be available for purchase tomorrow.