Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Gavin Fullerton
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Release Date: June 1, 2022
Reviewer: Lukke Sweet
The Closet #1 by James Tynion IV explores the everyday life of Thom and his family as they prepare for a big move and hopefully, a new beginning. This issue introduces us to the present relationships and conflicts within the family through the classic scene with a wise bartender. Over several drinks, Thom talks about the troubles with his wife and the difficulty of facing a child’s fears head-on. Upon returning home, these scenes play out almost exactly as he describes while Thom tries to manage and get through them.
There’s a monster in the closet. With the simple, yet familiar, fear of the unknown in the darkness, James Tynion IV crafts a chilling tale that explores humanity through the lens of a single-family. The Closet #1 introduces readers to a haunting journey through mundane scenes of life.
On the surface, The Closet #1 is a story about a family starting over after a move, family bonds as both spouse and parent, and a child’s fear. It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times, yet Tynion manages to deliver it in a way that will hook readers from page one. Where Tynion doesn’t manage to differentiate his story is in the family relationships, especially between Thom and Maggie. This is where the strength of drawing on the familiar falls apart as it goes a step too far into the caricatures of the nagging wife and half-hearted husband. Hopefully, in the issues to come, Tynion will be able to step away from these overly familiar characters by adding some depth and helping them come truly alive as the conflicts escalate and come to a head.
However, Tynion did nail it by emphasizing the familiar situations. By drawing on everyday life, Tynion pulls readers into The Closet with situations and conversations that many readers will have experienced themselves. This helps to make up for the simplistic characters by letting readers set themselves into the story as if they were experiencing it firsthand.
The art presented by Gavin Fullerton and Chis O’Halloran is the perfect fit for The Closet. With a muted color palette, O’Halloran communicates the tone of unhappiness present throughout the book, reflecting Thom’s view of his own life.
Paired with the linework of Fullerton, the art paints a picture of unending dread amidst the normality of Thom’s life and the tensions within his family. With every panel, readers are reminded that this is not a fantastical story or one that has a guaranteed happy ending.
Readers will be excited to see more of this team’s art, especially after how well they crafted a perfectly creepy ending over the last several pages of The Closet #1.
The Closet #1 by James Tynion IV serves up familiar fears in a deeply human and unnerving manner. Rife with marital conflict and the age-old terror of the unknown monster living in the closet, Tynion faces this issue head-on and has built a compelling narrative that will have readers coming back for the second issue in July.
Tynion’s one misstep is in the stereotypical family roles of his characters. To further this sense of unease, Gavin Fullerton and Chris O’Halloran partner to deliver a muted reality that captures the sense of everyday life pushed to the extremes. Overall, The Closet #1 is a must-read for fans of horror comics or those interested in stories steeped in the challenges of everyday life.