In the first issue of Little Girl Black, teenager Cass was kidnapped by a sadist with a basement dungeon where he keeps a harem of captives for his debauched amusement. Seeing as this is now the middle stage of an abduction-abuse-vengeance sequence, it stands to reason that it’s also going to be the hardest to stomach, and the story doesn’t disappoint. Or to be more specific, it gives you exactly what you expect it will and doesn’t apologise for a moment. Now subjected to a regime of brutal torture, she remains fiery and defiant, and you have to wonder at where she draws such a strength of will to remain unbroken while enduring such an ordeal.
Despite the remorseless physical torments, even more disturbing is the accompanying psychological aspect. It’s not just that the girls have been beaten down into subjugated submission, their identity reduced to their appearance – Black, Blonde, Red and Chink – with the intent of dehumanising them by stripping them of everything that makes them who they are. The casual racism that last name signifies also extends to Cass, and you would be right in thinking that Black isn’t the only thing she gets called.
Through all this, “Daddy” seems to genuinely care for the fifth captive Mary, a little girl and the only one of them allowed a name. The clear affection he displays for her actually makes you hate him more for making you empathise with him and feel something towards him other than abject loathing, however minutely and briefly. He loves her like a true father would, and she reciprocates in kind, fiercely defensive of any criticism in the girls’ contemptuous attitudes towards him or from their behaviour lacking what she deems proper deference to the only kind of authority she has ever known.
In as positive a manner as the adjective can be used, Little Girl Black is repulsive and nauseating, and the simple act of pulling your way through the story actually makes you physically uneasy, almost as though the comic itself is silently judging you for having the shameless depravity to even consider reading it.
LITTLE GIRL BLACK #2 / AUTHOR: JAMES MCCULLOCH / ARTIST: PEDRO MENDES / PUBLISHER: COMICHAUS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW