I can’t lie. I adored Collapser #1. The anticipation to read the second issue started to build the second I finished the first. Even with all the buildup, Collapser #2 did not disappoint at all.
Collapser is perhaps the most accurate depiction of anxiety I have ever read. It is important, it is thoughtful, and it is entertaining as hell. When I read Collapser, I don’t feel so alone. I feel like someone gets exactly what I’m going through. Then they took it up a notch and added aliens and monsters and whatnot. On paper, it should not work, but it absolutely does.
The Physical Embodiment of Intrusive Thoughts
In this issue, our dude Liam is dealing with the big freaking black hole in his chest. He had his issues with anxiety last issue, but they really crank up a notch here. He visits Stonehenge, meets Dracula, and sees the Jersey Devil (which appealed to the very proud NJ native in me). There are also aliens following him around all over the place. What’s real and what’s not, I’m not sure yet. I’m also not sure it matters.
Many people who live with anxiety deal with intrusive thoughts. These are flashes of some of the worst things imaginable. Some deal with death, or sex, or a number of other things that end up causing a lot of discomfort and even distress. Some make you really evaluate and question your morals and entire being as a person. Often, the question people like me ask ourselves when we have an intrusive thought is, “Am I batsh*t insane?” We also feel like if we did tell someone about what we’re feeling, they’d think we were.
That is a huge part of what Liam James faces in Collapser #2. It’s the worst case scenario — the worst thing we imagine when we think about telling people what’s going on in our heads. (I imagine this is the same with a lot of people with mental health issues, but it’s definitely true of anxiety sufferers.) People don’t believe him. They try to treat it or explain it away. They tell him to fight it. I can tell you from experience, that does not work.
So if nothing else, Collapser #2 is endlessly relatable and packs a big emotional punch. Thankfully, it’s so much more.
A Truly Exciting Narrative
What the hell is about to happen in Collapser #3? I’ve got no dang idea. That is perhaps the most exciting thing I can say about any comic. Collapser #2 kept me surprised, kept me guessing, and kept me invested. I have a lot of love for Liam and I certainly care what happens to him and the people whom he loves, even when they aren’t there for him in the way you may hope. Not knowing what comes next is suspenseful and exciting.
The plot seems simple: Dude with anxiety has a black hole in his chest. No one believes him. He feels like he’s drowning.
It’s not simple at all. The fact that we don’t truly know what the black hole is doing to him throughout the issue is captivating. As the effects unfold, I’m convinced it will only get more interesting. And not to give anything away, but the end of this issue made me literally gasp. Writers Mikey Way and Shaun Simon are not f*cking around here, guys. I am so, so on board.
Gritty, Real, and Not Too Pretty
There are books that I would call “beautiful.” I’m not sure Collapser falls into that category, and I mean that as a huge compliment.
A book like Collapser needs to feel authentic. It needs to set a mood, and it needs to feel grounded. The are team of Ilias Kyriazis, Cris Peter, and Simon Bowland have accomplished exactly that. I am on one hell of a journey with Collapser #2, and that is very much their doing. There is so much to look at, and it all contributes to the feeling of the book.
The change in tone from the “real world” and what Liam is seeing is so damn effective. Kyriazis and Peter have a knack for constructing the horrific and the mundane, and putting them right next to each other in such stark contrast. The result is a wild ride that we’re on with our main character. It completely sucks you in.
And Bowland has done a hell of a job putting a higher than average amount of words on a page. I’m never confused about who is talking or narrating, and the balloons and blocks are pleasing to my eye. I also like the typeface of Collapser. It’s simple, clean, and easy to read.
There are panels here that will make you recoil. They’re terrifying and complex. It’s an absolutely expert job all around. Is it traditionally “pretty?” I’m gonna say, “no.” Do I still want to frame nearly every page and display them on my wall? Abso-freaking-loutely.
More Than The Sum of Its Parts
Collapser #2 is great for all of these reasons, but there is a certain something else going on here. Every part of Collapser comes together to create a book not quite like anything else out there.
It’s making a statement, it has fantastic art, and the story is gripping, but you can say that of a lot of books. Collapser weaves together and forms a comic that you simply have to put on your pull list. At issue #2, it already has me convinced that it’ll be a highlight of 2019 comics.
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