Writer:Pornsak Pichetshote /Artist: Aaron Campbell / Image Comics
Infidel is a tense, long walk through a haunted house; that haunted house is ‘Murica.
The series so far (two issues in) is a scene study of post-9/11 NYC and ‘post-race’ America. Infidel folds the fear of the former and the assumptions of the latter in on themselves using horror elements to great effect. Infidel addresses the macrocosm of social manipulation and ‘group think’ through the hot-button microcosm of Islamophobia.
Issue #2 turns the creep factor up a few notches, with Aisha experiencing supernatural events not only when she’s alone – but with rooms full of people!
Pichetshote and artist Aaron Campbell masterfully turn the anxiety of Aisha not knowing if she’s bugging into the anxiety of everyone else in the room wondering if Aisha is a suicide bomber in the making. No one is safe in this book (it ain’t safe, it ain’t safe). Not the eight-year-old Star Wars fan, not the naïve ‘Qwhite’ mother-in-law, and most clearly: not even the titular character, Aisha, is safe.
Infidel #2 delivers the goods on this one. Thrills, chills, ‘damn!’ moments, and well-designed social commentary. There were some narrative elements that were unclear at first glance in issue #1. Those elements are clear as crystal in the second outing. One of the gems of this book is actually the creative staff. Turn (or tap for my digital readers) to the last few pages of a given comic and readers are treated to some great behind-the-scenes stuff. The team for Infidel, at Image Comics, reveal a very personal investment in Aisha’s journey and the world the character occupies. Pichetshote goes so far as to offer up his personal testimony as a Thai-American who has lived on either continent AND dealt with alienation in both places.
He centers that experience as a part of why Infidel explores what it does. Pichetshote also makes sure to shout out his whole squad, a collection of talented outliers, without whom Infidel wouldn’t be possible.
Infidel #2 gets 8 medic-alert bracelet commercials out of 10
Scales and Scoundrels #9 gets 8.5 singing Shaq memes out of 10