Written by Curt Pires
Illustrated by David Rubin
Colours by Michael Garland
Letters by Colin Bell
Publshed by Boom! Studios
The newest issue of The Fiction picks up right where the last one left off with Kassie and Max returning to the fictional reality they ventured into as young kids. Kassie has convinced Max to aid her in the hopes of finding Tyler, one of their childhood friends, who has appeared to be taken from their reality into this fictional one.
Curt Pires’s script dials up the emotional connections to the past in this one, relying on the attributes nostalgia gives off to those that enter adulthood. As Kassie and Max venture through the fictional reality, they realize that something is not particularly right with their surroundings. David Rubin’s lines become a lot more jagged and straight edged, causing the trees around them to give off a more lifeless and imposing appearance. Kassi and Max encounter ghost-like versions of their younger selves and are lead by the ghost of the very person they are trying to find: Tyler. This eerie encounter thrusts a back and forth sequence with the past, diving deeper into the disappearance of their childhood friend Tsang and their collective agreement to never tell anyone about the alternate, fictional reality.
Rubin’s art is at its most impactful during the middle section of this issue as he captures the facial reactions of the kids as they are interrogated by a police officer. Their honest frustrations of what they have to hide and dealing with the fear that the fictional reality may try to enter their world are clearly seen on the faces of Max and Tyler, whereas Kassie is more composed, appearing to have a stronger control on her emotions.
As these recollections of the past come flowing forward, Kassie’s journey becomes more and more a realization that she is struggling to deal with the reality that is adulthood. After losing Tsang to the fiction, Max escaping with his mother from a damaged father, and now Tyler being kidnapped, Kassie is trying to save her reality by coming to terms with the past. The past and present realities begin to merge as the frames of the past appear like photographs amongst Kassie and Max’s walk through the fiction. The beautiful superimposition by Rubin frames the past within the borderless present of the fiction, flowing amongst the trees like falling leaves being swept up by the wind.
Michael Garland’s colouring does a great job at adding a real sense of emotion within each of the particular frames and their respective surroundings. The orange and pink hues of the forest path that Kassie and Max traverse has a very warm feel to it as they venture down memory lane. Alternatively, the stark greens and blues of the mysterious cave near the end merge to fight away the creeping darkness around the cold walls.
Often, we as individuals face many hardships when coming to terms with the transition away from the delights of childhood. Sometimes the doors of adulthood are thrust open and other times the doors are opened with caution, creaking towards acceptance. Whenever we face hardships, we tend to bask in the glories of a nostalgic time, through moments, objects, or people that remind us of a better time. Kassie and Max have a moment like this as they reach an ominous cave, causing Max to ask Kassie if she remembers this place. Moments like this remind one of the warming sensation felt upon a revisited section of a place that one felt closely attached to, like a college dorm, a hometown library, or a once frequented coffee shop. Even going back to a favourite book or recognizing the entrance to a boss’s lair in an old school video game is reminiscent of this small but poignant scene. It may be a bit sentimental for some, but for Kassie, this is what is driving her forward to rescue not only the realities for herself and her friends, but the world as a whole from the impending dangers presented by this tarnished reality known as The Fiction.