"Goosebumps: Download and Die! #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Jen Vaughn
Illustrated by Michelle Wong
Colored by Triona Tree Farrell
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 11th, 2018
Think about all the times that you use your cellphone, even just to check the time, throughout a normal day. Now imagine your phone is haunted. That’s the trouble with Mitra’s new phone, but she doesn’t realize the danger she’s in just yet. The device is starting to come between her and her friends, putting disturbing thoughts into her head. It has a strange effect on the reality around her, causing frightening injuries to people she’s takes pictures of.
Although Goosebumps: Download and Die! is an all-ages title, there are some pretty terrifying moments. The one that immediately comes to mind is the creepy ghost boy Mitra sees at the hospital. He’s filthy and just starts vomiting uncontrollably at one point. Artist Michelle Wong and colorist Triona Tree Farrell do some great work here. The ghost boy is cast in an eerie shadow, like he’s a faded memory. This contrasts with the bright, florescent lights of the waiting room and the innocent look on Mitra’s face. The darkness intensifies as the scene continues, coinciding with the sun setting outside.
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This scene also gets some bonus points for including Goosebumps alum, Curly the Skeleton. He’s in a display case in the waiting room and starts knocking on the glass. It just adds to the creep factor of the pages.
Farrell’s colors highlight the strangeness around the phone. Every time it’s in use, the panel gets an otherworldly reddish glow, like it’s giving off some strange radiation. This also creates some nice shadows to give the scene some darker undertones.
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Where Download and Die! excels is with the personal teenage drama among Mitra and her friends. It’s real. Writer Jen Vaughn perfectly captures these genuine feelings that we’ve all been through. The phone brings out the worst inner thoughts that Mitra could be thinking and beats up her self-esteem at a time when it is most vulnerable. As a result, she doesn’t realize how much it has affected her. This relatability heightens the tension in the book. The scares are greater, as we’re so invested in Mitra and her life.
Goosebumps: Download and Die! shows just how great all-ages comics can be. The series literally works for everyone, tugging on the emotional hardships of teenagers that we’ve all experienced to make a very personal, terrifying read.