What was supposed to be a simple father-son cross-country trip escalates into a literal nightmare in The Closet #3. In this three-issue series, we’ve met Thom, a lousy husband/father with skeletons in his past, and his four-year-old son Jaime who has something evil living in his closet that follows him as the family travels from New York to Portland. In the shocking conclusion of The Closet #3, James Tynion IV and artist Gavin Fullerton put a sinister spin on the phrase “the sins of the father,” making the finale to their monsters-and-marital-quarrels tale one you’ll be talking about for ages.
SPOILERS AHEAD for The Closet #3!
On the surface, The Closet is a sad, dramatic horror story about regret, life, strained relationships, and creatures lurking in the dark. But on a deeper level, The Closet discusses social issues like the responsibilities of being a parent and how parental choices can permanently affect children. Tynion gives readers a great example of how Thom has neglected his son since the first issue. In the first book, Thom tells a bartender about Jaime’s monster in the closet dilemma and how he failed to contact a child psychologist.
The father’s point is proved further in the second book when Thom stops to visit his brother, Mack. Here, Tynion does an excellent job of showing Mack’s perspective on his brother Thom and how off-the-rails Thom’s problems with his wife Maggie and son are. As a result, the monster again appears to Jaime, and Thom is sitting out back talking with his brother instead of helping his kid. Jaime runs to get help from his dad, but Thom is not there for Jaime even though he promised him that Jaime would sleep in the same bed as him during the trip.
Instead, Jaime is again dragged into the darkness and tortured by the creature. It’s a repetitive but effective cycle of events that leads us to the shocking conclusion in The Closet #3. Aside from finding out how Jaime ultimately fends off his monster problem, we finally learn the truth as to why Thom and his wife Maggie are constantly at each other’s throats and that Thom is to blame for his issues.
What I loved most about Gavin Fullerton’s artwork is that much like the story, Fullerton keeps most of the book surrounded by darkness and shadow play. Given it’s a story about closets, I thought that was a nice touch that adds to the tone and essence of the story brilliantly. Colorist Chris O’Halloran adds the final touch with his exploratory choice of bright but equally balanced colors that make the characters stand out against dark backgrounds.
Fans will be divided by the story’s final moments; however, The Closet #3 delivers when it comes to truly shocking the reader. To me, The Closet plays like a classic episode of The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt. Ironically, most episodes served up a lesson or two as well. The creative team behind this short-lived series did an incredible job overall. I hope we see more stories from Tynion and Fullerton in the future.
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