Published on August 12th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Shrinking Man #2 Review
Poor Scott, as his body gets smaller, his problems get bigger and his life begins to slip away from him. In this second issue of The Shrinking Man, Scott continues his fight against nature but also has to face the cruelty and dangers of the people who live in his own neighbourhood. Ted Adams also uses the script to raise the question, how safe are our children?
In The Basement
For a moment Scott’s luck seems to have changed as he finds some crackers that have been protected against the leaking kitchen sink. Unfortunately this doesn’t last and the leak gets worse and the spider returns; the resulting battle exhausts Scott further. There is light at the end of the tunnel though, or rather at the top of the stairs. All he has to do is scale the vast steps and avoid the malicious cat. Simple, right?
These sequences of the comic are the most atmospheric and threatening, in a traditional sense. The images are dark and the obstacles that Scott faces are large and obvious, such as the snarling cat with its massive claws. Scott’s life is in danger at every turn and it’s all physical, it’s all about how the mundane can change when you view it from a new perspective. Mark Torres uses every opportunity in the basement to illustrate the daunting view that Scott has, been so small. Many of the panels are drawn from a point of view just behind the central character as he gazes upwards, mostly in fear.
Before The Basement
Who’d have thought that a short man could have so much bad luck? Although it’s Scott’s attitude that causes him the most grief. A bit of publicity draws too much attention to him and his already dented ego takes a battering, chuck in a flat tire and he reaches the end of his tether. Abandoning the car, Scott heads for home and, not for the first time, gets mistaken for a child. The posh, suave and a little bit creepy man who gives Scott a lift talks and talks; he’s grooming Scott, making him feel comfortable while at the same time trying to find out about him, where he lives, if he’ll be missed. Things get more and more uncomfortable until the driver puts his hand on Scott’s knee and everyone loses a little self-control.
This whole sequence is creepy and will make your skin crawl. There is very little movement between the characters (and when there is it’s highlighted by a change of viewpoint to emphasis the action) but the awkward back and forth conversation between them is very disturbing. It’s also something that unfortunately transcends time, it’s not something fixed to the period when the story is set which makes it harder to distance yourself from it.
This is not the only danger facing the young that is illustrated in this issue; bullying plays a pivotal role towards the end of the comic. Scott attempts to avoid confrontation, a contrast to the way he deals with his supportive wife, but is targeted by a gang of lads all the smae. He has no way to protect himself from them and when they find out he’s not some young kid, they intend to humiliate him as much as they can. It’s strong stuff that I’m sure many readers will be able to relate to in one way or another. The narrative uses Scott’s unusual plight to draw attention to everyday issues which, as already stated, are as relevant today as they were back when Richard Matheson wrote his original novel.
Matheson’s story is entertaining and thought provoking and Ted Adam’s adaptation does not diminish its impact. The script is gripping and the art work adds an extra level of intensity. You might not always enjoy reading this comic, some of the subject matter is tough going, but you won’t put it down until the end.
Title: Richard Matheson: The Shrinking Man
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Adaption: Ted Adams
Artist: Mark Torres