One of the most disturbing indie comics to emerge in recent years reaches its climax, and lives up to the standards of depravity its first two issues set for itself. The series follows teenager Cass, who is kidnapped by “Daddy,” a businessman who collects young women of various looks and ethnicities and imprisons them beneath his suburban home. After a regime of systematic abuse, Cass acts as though she has been broken, but along with the other girls begins plotting their escape.
After the previous deplorable events of the series you might wonder where Little Girl Black has left itself to go to maintain such heights (or, depths, depending how you look at it), but rest assured, there’s another fucked up revelation waiting to hit you before the story’s end, somehow managing to make everything just that little bit worse. Despite being a soul-crushing ordeal to read, the story also sneaks in an undercurrent of optimism, suggesting that no matter how bleak a situation may be, there is no true surrender as long as you can maintain a glimmer of hope.
The culmination is as much about psychological defiance as it is a physical fight back, as Cass’ refusal to allow herself to be beaten into meek compliance is what keeps her going in spite of everything she has been subjected to. Her indomitable will inspires the others to join her despite the potential repercussions, and the unspoken bond forged of their suffering binds them together in their eventual fate, whichever result ultimately comes to pass.
Mesmerising like a car crash, as the comic forces you to endure the torments it inflicts upon it characters, reading it becomes akin to a bout of emotional masochism. In the end, when everything is over, you feel a weight is lifted by emerging from reading the thing with your sanity intact, something you become conscious of almost as much as you care about the girls making their eventual escape and evil receiving its due punishment. Little Girl Black might have been a very short series, but its blunt force impact is in no way lessened as a result.
LITTLE GIRL BLACK #3 / AUTHOR: JAMES MCCULLOCH / ARTIST: PEDRO MENDES / PUBLISHER: COMICHAUS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW