Published on October 28th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Shrinking Man #4 Review
As the central character gets smaller and smaller, the ambition behind this comic continues to grow.
It’s the final part and Richard Matheson’s dubious hero has to face losing his family, fighting the ever present threat of a giant (at least to him) spider and the inevitable disappearance from the known world. That means that there is a lot to pack in to this issue but at no point does it feel rushed, in fact the pacing is wonderfully sedate so that when the end comes, it feels too soon.
There are a number of confrontations throughout these pages and each one closes off another part of Scott Carey’s life; some of it is heart-breaking as his family leaves him without even knowing he is still in the house; some of it is triumphant, see the final spider face off; and there is even some philosophical, thought provoking, pseudo- science. By the end you’d think that all of this finality would lead to a definite closure for the narrative but it’s surprisingly open ended and even has a hint of optimism.
Positivity actually shines through this entire issue so even at the darker moments the pages are never steeped in gloom and doom. The artwork is continually engaging with Mark Torres’ design and layouts accentuating the futility of Carey’s attempts at being involved with his old life. The long panels with a very low point of view give the reader that constant reminder that everything is so impossibly tall in comparison to Carey. The action sequences also take on a life of their own as the irregular panel shapes and changing perspective add an element of the uncontrollable that the reader can’t escape from.
The Shrinking Man is a story about the inadequacies that a family man can face during his life (and about sex) some of which takes on different meanings in the modern age. Whereas in the original novel there is a sense of sympathy for Carey as he loses his ‘manliness’ especially in a world where ‘being a man’ is the most important thing, in this retelling the central characters stubborn machoism shows him up for his small mindedness and as such he becomes a ‘smaller’ man. Ted Admas is obviously aware of these social differences and uses them to highlight modern concerns without altering the original story.
No matter how well you know the original novel there is something new in this retelling and this final issue has been the best of the run, artistically and narratively. Some of the additional essay type material is fascinating to read and the reprint of David Morrell’s Afterword from the 2001 edition of the novel is definitely worth a read, especially as it dissects the original novel and is very relevant to the comic that you have just read.
Fun and disturbing in equal measures, The Shrinking Man has been a joy to read and will leave you searching for Richard Matheson’s original novel.
Oh, and not all the sexual content of the novel made it into the comic but much of it is alluded to in there if you want to go digging.
Title: Richard Matheson: The Shrinking Man
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Adaption: Ted Adams
Artist: Mark Torres