The creature in Ro’s haunted house seems to be inspiring her to make art, but at what cost to her? Find out in The Me You Love in the Dark #3 from Image Comics!

THE ME YOU LOVE IN THE DARK #3

Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Editor: Joel Enos and Kent Wagenschutz
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 6, 2021

Previously in The Me You Love in the Dark: Artist Ro Meadows rented a haunted house in search of inspiration for her art. Then she meets a dark, humanoid being in her house. She is, understandably, quite shaken and collapses in exhaustion. The following day she tries to go through her normal routine while she also keeps looking over her shoulder. Finally, she tries speaking to it, and it answers her, although it deflects any questions about itself specifically. It seems fascinated in her and her art. Then Ro has the idea to paint in a darkened studio – and to paint what she thinks this ghost looks like.

IS IT ROMANCE OR IS IT MADNESS?

The Me You Love in the Dark #3 opens with Ro painting in her darkened studio. The ghost asks if she is done yet, but she isn’t. This is a different Ro than we met in the first issue. She has found inspiration for her art and she is surrounded by finished paintings. The creature cajoles her, taking her palette and brushes, asking her to come play with it. With the way Ro reacts, we see the creature as teasing and coaxing her, and Ro as enjoying the attention. The fact that it is still a shadowy creature makes this feel disquieting.

Its behavior is more than a little manipulative even to the point of doing things Ro can’t resist so that it gets its way. It returns her paints, but puts on music she loves, and she cannot resist dancing with it. Does it know her well enough that this is a sweet gesture, or is it being manipulative?

One evening Attison, from the gallery, calls to check on her progress. He is not happy to delay her opening; she’s let him down before. But she is genuinely excited and feels that this project is the most personal she has ever done. She is also popping popcorn, because this is movie night, when she and the creature watch the movie, “About Time,” again. It is intrigued by it. More time passes. Halloween comes, and kids avoid the haunted house. Christmas comes and Ro makes cookies and talks about her family and her memories, good and not-so-good. They change things up and watch, “Love, Actually.” Then the creature gives her a present – a room full of paintings, old paintings, that it has been able to get from somewhere.

Is it a gift? Where did it get all these paintings? Has it been in the business of trapping and consuming artists, and are these the spoils from artists past?

THE TRUTH IS HIDDEN IN THE DARK

The art of The Me You Love in the Dark #3 is full of life and shadows, making a fascinating contrast. Ro is inspired, energetic, more relaxed than we have ever seen her. We do get a sense that she doesn’t fully believe this is real, but the effect on her art is and she is embracing it with all the enthusiasm of someone at the start of a new romance. And so much time passes while she puts off her gallery and lives this life. We see evidence of so many paintings that she has painted. From romantic, things gradually shift into the unsettling.

The creature in her house does not identify as a ghost, and we don’t know exactly what it is. It only comes out in the dark. It usually appears humanoid, but elongated and gnarled, not exactly skeletal. But we see more of it than Ro does, and there is a moment when we see its face full of way too many eyes and far, far too many teeth. Would Ro still feel the same way if she saw it as we do?

BOTTOM LINE: MODERN GOTHIC

The Me You Love in the Dark #3 is a delicious blend of horror and romance, balancing out the sweet and the creepy in a way that is distinctly disquieting.


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The Me You Love in the Dark #3

90%
90%
Distinctly Disquieting

Ro Meadows has found her muse – but will it ever let her go?

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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