Review: INFIDEL #1

Written by Pornsak Pichetshote
Art by Aaron Campbell, Jose Villarrubia, and Jeff Powell
Edited by Jose Villarrubia
Published by Image Comics
Released March 14, 2018

The slammed door that opens again when your back turns. The microaggression that becomes real aggression. The everyday horror that becomes decidedly exceptional.

Aisha is a Muslim woman who is in a challenging home environment with her Catholic husband and mother-in-law, and her step-daughter. Add in that they live a floor above an apartment where a bomb went off. Also the building might be haunted.

Infidel is a book that juxtaposes the real challenges of an assimilating Muslim in big city America with a creeping horror that is just below the surface, and not in a figurative way.

This is an exceptionally well-told horror story that gives us a fright at the top and bottom of the story and spends the rest of the packed issue introducing the cast and quickly developing the tensions and relationships.

Campbell has a great style for this book. Realistic but uncluttered. The layouts are strong and Campbell makes good use of small, tight panels to push in on details. A light, a stair, caution tape, a shoe. Building tension through pacing the panels. Pushing in to make the panel claustrophobic, when one can almost hear a musical score building in the background.

Villarrubia’s colors give Infidel the feel of a crime comic. Muted colors and plenty of earth tones. Bright colors are absent, the city is a threatening place.

The lettering by Powell moves well, looping the eye around the page, keeping longer conversations moving and readable, while also leading the reader in the right direction for the horror moments.

Overall, a stand-out first issue. It challenges expectations by including the tensions between characters of different faiths, while not being explicitly about that difference. These are human challenges that inform the world of the book rather than define it.

The real terror is waiting. Just beyond.

The Verdict: 8.0/10


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