In I Walk With Monsters #5, Jacey finally confronts the Important Man, but instead of avenging her brother, she blinks. While she attempts to flee, she has to deal with the horrors of her past. Will she find some comfort, somewhere? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!
I WALK WITH MONSTERS #5
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Sally Cantirino
Colors: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Andworld Design
Editor: Andrea Lorenzo Molinari
Publisher: Vault Comics
Release Date: April 21st, 2021
Previously in I Walk With Monsters: Jacey’s brother was taken by someone she only knows as the Important Man. Roaming the country as a child, she attaches herself to David, a loner who harbors a dark secret – the ability to change into a terrifying beast. Through a series of flashbacks, we get a better understanding of both damaged characters, and Jacey’s burning desire to avenge her brother. But when she finally confronts the Important Man, her dreams of vengeance go awry…
As a long term Doctor Who fan, Paul Cornell has loomed large in my imagination since 1990. His emergence from the fanzine culture of the late 80s and into the professional writing sphere was like a blazing comet. His first Doctor Who novel, Timewyrm: Revelation, was the book that kickstarted a decade of spin off novels that were, as the tag line went, too deep and too broad for television. Cornell took that remit to expand on the possibilities of the show in novels such as No Future, Love and War and Human Nature. Always, Cornell sought to examine the psychology of the main characters – instead of concentrating on just the exciting adventures in time and space, his novels were sometimes psychological studies of the main characters and he proved a trailblazer in what other fan writers could accomplish with the series.
Cornell’s approach is similar here with I Walk With Monsters #5. After all the build up, after all the ominous flashbacks about the abuse Jacey received, the sense that the readers got was that Cornell was building up to the moment where Jacey will get her revenge.
Which is where Cornell pulls the rug out from under the audience. It would be the easiest thing in the world for him to have Jacey pull the trigger. It would be easy, and cliched. Far better to have Jacey not pull that trigger, and deal with the consequences of her…well, cowardice is too harsh a word. It takes enormous courage for her to survive her abuse, and then summon even more courage to track and find her abuser. But in terms of the story from this point, Cornell’s decision to not go down the expected path is something of a masterstroke.
Flashbacks should illuminate, and Cornell, who makes interesting use of them in I Walk With Monsters #5, does just that. We gain a greater sense and appreciation for the relationship between Jacey and David. David, who can become a monster if sufficiently provoked, takes on a protective role when he comes across Jacey. He learns her history, but refuses to do what Jacey does, stating that to allow her to engage in violence would be an act of child abuse. Good writers, like Cornell, can take a trope and turn it around, and make the reader actually think. Just because we’re rooting for Jacey to take her revenge, doesn’t mean we should make ourselves complicit in a child totally ruining their life. Violence only begets more violence; is that what we really want for Jacey?
As for the rest of I Walk With Monsters #5. Sally Cantirino’s artwork is loose, but effective. Indeed, so effective it caused me to have my own flashback while reading. When Jacey has her gun trained on the Important Man, Cantirino subtly increases his size from panel to panel, reminding me of nightmares from my childhood. Just as Cornell’s writing is both supple and subtle, Cantirino’s style creeps up on the reader, with telling results.
BOTTOM LINE: UNEXPECTED
I Walk With Monsters #5 looks forward and back as our protagonists process the past and the future. Despite his bestial secret, David is the rock upon which Jacey has fashioned her recovery from her years of abuse. Cornell’s decision to shy away from the obvious path gives the issue a freshness that immediately engages the reader, telling them that there is something far more interesting going on than the mere slaking of a thirst for blood.
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I Walk With Monsters #5
A painful examination of childhood trauma and its ongoing ramifications, I Walk With Monsters #5 justly deserves the plaudits both its writer and artistic team have garnered since it began.