Red Room (2021) #2

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Okay, I didn’t realize Red Room was going to have real mythology (in the “X-Files” sense). I thought it was just going to be a series of horrifying vignettes about the world of online slasher snuff videos. This issue’s all about the doctor who prepares the victims for the videos. They get all sorts of work done, so they get mangled well onscreen. The network executives have faked the doctor’s death, and his family’s provided for while he works.

They’re even nice to him as an employee, albeit about some tough circumstances. Because, in revealing the mythological layer, creator Ed Piskor reveals at some level Red Room is just capitalism.

And there’s no end to the horrors capitalism can contextualize.

The issue hints at some of channel producers’ organizational structure; the producers, who may or may not be rich and famous; the famous part’s potentially significant. We shall see.

There’s a lot of great art. The issue tracks a victim from capture to murder, with a lengthy medical recovery period in between. The capture’s a little surprising, with Piskor going for an easy reveal right away, but makes sense once the issue focuses more on the doctor as the issue’s protagonist.

But he’s not a tight protagonist, there’s still a lot with the video stream pages, where executives talking about the business accompany the gory imagery, as well as the stream’s viewers chatting amongst themselves. Three levels of horror simultaneously.

Once again, Red Room is an unspeakably grotesque delight. It’ll be interesting to see where Piskor’s taking it going forward, since the first issue spun in bloodier circles.

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