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Feral #2
Image Comics

Comic Books

‘Feral’ #2 sinks its claws in deeper for a bold, bloody horror story

Both cute and unsettling, ‘Feral’ is a book that messes with your heart, body, and mind.

With issue #1, Feral made this life-long dog dude a believer in the power of a cat-led horror story. The creative team — Trish Forstner, Tony Fleecs, Tone Rodriguez, and Brad Simpson — quickly realized an evocative slice of horror just moments into the debut, exploring the shock and awe that defines all great horror properties through the eyes of our feline friends.

Issue #2 of Feral, then, gives us even more blood and gore to enjoy, but it also makes a few other vital decisions that extend the scope of this truly great book. Dare I say it’s already the cat’s meow?

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As it did with issue #1, it all begins with the art. Forstner, Rodriguez, and Simpson have once again proven how effective they are in balancing the cutesy cartoon vibes with the endlessly bloody madness of, say, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The end result across issue #2 is an unflinching challenge for the trio of Elsie, Patch, and Lord — a deluge of suffering that should forge these characters in the proper crucible of a proper horror nightmare.

By using key tropes and devices from horror movies, including some really great jump scares and subtle framing, we get moments both obviously terrifying and also more subtle and understated — i.e., the way the best horror properties try to play with time and space as they mess with our very sensibilities. I thought issue #1 was extra gory, but there’s some moments in #2 that feel even more unwavering in their work to really shock us and get us thinking about our relationship to horror as this wicked chronicle of human storytelling and misery.


Feral #2 variant cover by Trish Forstner and Tony Fleecs. Courtesy of Image Comics.

It’s the art team who gives us this world that’s familiar in all the best ways, and yet we can’t deny the slow breakdown happening expertly across the book. Be it the mouth of a bloody, infected wolf, or just some shot of an extra spooky-looking wooded area, it’s the progressive creep of it all that makes the horrific transformation all the more scary. And yet there’s still touches of romanticism here — not only in our cute cat compadres, but also some minor flashbacks to the pre-infected world that hum with a warm nostalgia. That balance of sentiments and the inevitable shift feel like a proper accomplishment of issue #2, and a clear demonstration of how Feral isn’t just about obliterating our wits but making us reevaluate our relationship to the world.

I think all of that’s even more clear when you look at the Fleecs-penned narrative. With issue #1, I really enjoyed the way that Fleecs was using Feral to play around with horror in a way to get us to celebrate horror and still wrench our very guts at almost every turn. Much like the art’s own accomplishments, the narrative in this chapter is all about the unflinching nature of great horror and how these tales tend to drag us in with increasing precision and brutality. It’s about fostering something truly visceral.


Feral #2 variant cover by Sophie Campbell. Courtesy of Image Comics.

But I also think that there’s a touch more psychological horror going on in the story proper. Sure, that’s reflected in the art — with the aforementioned stuff about the expert pacing — but I think some of the more compelling elements feel decidedly more subtle. That most certainly includes the mystery surrounding Lord in issue #1, in which Elsie hinted at issues with the still-young cat. While those are still unaddressed in full, we’re given a chance to better understand what’s informing his erratic tendencies and how that might further inform his behavior in the rest of the story. Similarly, we got a really solid tease about Patch’s “health” in the last issue, and while that went mostly by the wayside in issue #2, it felt less like a mistake and more like the way the best horror can rear its heads with some forgotten detail that’ll unexpectedly slice your throat.

Even when the story’s being less coy and mysterious, we get some solid psychological developments over even more gore/terror. Specifically, the intro of Scratch and Jonas, two knowledgeable outdoor cats who help the trio as much as question their dynamic and spoiled cat nature. It’s another solid horror trope — grow the survivors and then get to picking everyone off — but it’s done in such a way that it maximizes the tension. It’s as much a venue for added gore as much as it’s going to raise big questions about how well our trio can survive and what this new dynamic might further tell us about family, community, what we do for love, etc.

If you love and adore cats, Feral is going to be a delightfully intense experience for you. But if you’re just not one of those feline folk, I think the experience will somehow be even better. Because Feral is all about that hook of familiarity that quickly spins you into new realms/terriorites. It may start out as a gimmicky slice of silly horror, but it’s already evolved into something that’s just as thoughtful and poignant. So, follow our cats through a veritable hell, and see just how it moves and shakes you like one of this kitty feather wands.

Feral #2
‘Feral’ #2 sinks its claws in deeper for a bold, bloody horror story
Feral #2
'Feral' may be a little gimmicky, but that doesn't stop it from being hugely effective in its layered approach to horror.
Reader Rating1 Votes
The story works effortlessly to shock, surprise, and confront like an expert axe murder.
The art continues to thread that perfect line between sweet and accessible, terrifying and unapproachable.
You've got to love a story that makes cats seem like a properly multifaceted beast.
If you're a true horror devotee, you may somehow want a touch more from 'Feral.'
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