Red Room (2021) #4

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I don’t know how creator Ed Piskor is going to keep it up with Red Room. Sure, he’s doing four issue volumes, but does he have an overall plan? I suppose I could’ve read the back matter. Because, as usual, Piskor finds an entirely new way to slice the comic, this time following the story of one Raina Dukes. In the eighties, pre-Internet, her father’s snuff video was infamous. In Piskor’s most unrealistic plot detail, the U.S. Government passed a law requiring possessors of such materials to pay restitution to the victim’s family. He tries to make it realistic as a ploy by the convicted rich and powerful to get time off their sentence.

So, Red Room takes place in a universe where the rich and powerful get convicted. Sure, Jan.

Raina’s spent her life preparing to take revenge on the woman who killed her father on camera. First, the “Crypto-Currency Keeper” tells us her story, followed by the story of the murderer, followed by the “Tales from the Crypt”-esque conclusion.

Again, as usual, it’s fantastic. In terms of done-in-ones, it’s probably the best issue. Piskor’s got great pacing for both stories, with the murderer’s origin filling in some details of how the Red Room started. The art’s phenomenal; Piskor leans into the horror comic narrator with the Keeper, but Raina also does first-person narration of her story. There are a couple surprises, though when the Keeper tells the reader not to think things are going to be too predictable, it’s a distraction from the story format.

The only time the issue slows down is for the epilogue, which ties it back into the rest of Red Room to some degree. Until then, it’s a beautifully paced revenge story, followed by a horrifying but uncomfortably close to grounded flashback origin.

I’m not worried about the comic per se; it just seems like Piskor’s doing a very focused anthology. He can only do the victim’s kid out for revenge once, right?

Then again, it’s Piskor and Red Room, so I wouldn’t bet against him being able to do it all day, every day, if he wants.

It’s so good. And, for a Red Room, surprisingly less gory than usual. It might be the most accessible issue yet.

One Comment

  1. Vernon W

    Glad you’re “enjoying” Red Room, despite its aversion to happy time entertainment. You’ll be delighted to know vol 2 continues Piskor’s development of stories within the characters , and doesn’t let up on the gas pedal. I believe he’s doing three four issue arcs, so that leaves four issues to go. Can he maintain this momentum, keeping the edge he’s working to hone? Time will tell.

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