As I Want You To Be: Come Into Me #4 Review
Story: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Art: Piotr Kowalski
Colors: Niko Guardia
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Sebastian and Becky continue to battle for supremacy over the new flesh as time starts to dwindle for both of them. With no new vessel in sight, who’ll reign supreme?
If anyone can …
Thompson and Nadler are really going for something in this comic, and I appreciate how unabashedly evocative Come Into Me’s become in a variety of ways. The isolation and loneliness both Sebastian and Becky feel are legitimate, as are their dueling moments of pettiness, selfishness and brutality, both with each other and with the world at large. You feel for them, even as you end up despising them as we despise ourselves for our need and inability to connect with each other, and the performative lengths we’ll go to to get ourselves there. The relatively tranquil moments early on of Sebastian and Becky’s parallel lives echo across the series, with each moment of internal conflict depicted in silent, dreamlike symbolism. They push each other through portals, traverse meaty hallways and invade each other’s memories, but there’s something muted about these encounters as compared to the fleshy horror of the meatspace.
As I stated previously, the art in this comic is exceptional, and Kowalski’s creative use of the 9-panel grid provides unique visual variation. I enjoy when the vignettes are balanced artfully on the page, and when a scene spans two or three of these panels it’s compelling and contributes to the comic’s overall feeling of disjointed reality. The splashes continue to be interesting collages of memory, conflict and confusion. Kowalski’s line is clear and brutally precise as he renders the ever-more grotesque Sebastian/Becky hybrid in excruciating detail. Every fleck of bile or blood, every sliver of broken glass is carefully placed and considered as an effective mirror to the puzzle pieces, organs and pulsing flesh globes inside Sebastian’s mind. Overall, the visuals in this series are all about harmony and balance, even as the subject matter pulls the rug out from under you. Superb work.
Guardia’s colors remain exemplary as well, with the use of reds, pinks and, later, sickly greens and yellows to lend garish detail to Sebastian’s fickle flesh. Guardia doesn’t limit color use throughout the book, but the steady dimness of the blue and purple backgrounds helps the series feel compellingly claustrophobic, and maintains symmetry across issues. All of your visual focus ends up on Sebastian’s horrible transformation, tracked painfully through each issue’s subtly shifting palette. It’s very hard to look away, as intended.
Ferrier’s choice of typeface is a perfect fit for the comic, and echoes Kowalski’s line work. The letters are tall, narrow and slightly slanted to the left, which gives the book a confined effect without sacrificing any readability. There’s only one spot in issue #4 where there’s too much text, but Ferrier’s choices mean even this large balloon is tight and doesn’t dominate its panel. Thin, curving tails heighten the unreality and isolation, even as characters are chatting back and forth, and both Becky and Sebastian’s narrative boxes are differentiated nicely through color and style.
Above all else, I love when comics show and don’t tell. Thompson and Nadler are making a statement on connectivity culture, and it’s done primarily through the visual in Come Into Me. There’s a lot of discourse on the state of things between Becky and Sebastian, sure, but the creative team on this book picks their visual metaphors and privileges them over expository dialogue, which is a deep breath of fresh air.
Come Into Me’s isolation, confusion, loneliness, distastefulness and ultimate futility (even with the thriller ending) are expertly rendered and still blanketed in the peculiar and alarming desensitization we’ve all developed as antidote to the endless deluge of information and stimulation our current culture subjects us to. The abrupt and enduring horror of sharing an entire existence with someone else and still misunderstanding each other is a fine extrapolation of our digital lifestyles, even as it stands as an unique entry into the horror comics pantheon. Come Into Me is both laden with meaning and hopelessly meaningless, and it’s a fine comic book no matter what you take away from the experience. Issue #4’s available now, and the trade will be available from Black Mask in 2019.