The second entry in Drew Edwards’ series of Halloween Man specials, Halloween Man versus The Invisible Man melds emotional realism with the titillating and the fantastical to create a gritty and satisfying adventure. Solar City’s fetish community has been rocked by a series of unexplained deaths when the grand dame of the scene, Claudette, comes to visit her old frenemy Lucy Chaplin, or more precisely, Lucy’s beau, Solomon Hitch. Our hero is reluctant to engage in this sort of heroism; while he’s commonly called upon to thwart the ghastly and creepy, the problem is a mystery, and he’s no detective. While comic book heroes often express token reluctance in order to build suspense, it can usually be chalked up to a gruff misanthropic streak or false humility; in this case, Solomon is genuinely out of his depth and has good reason to defer, only taking the case out of a sense of solidarity with a subculture that is marginalized and sensationalized by the media in the same way he is.
The tale unspools slowly, with setbacks and false leads as the nature of the threat is revealed to be Mr Griffin (his name filled out to “Herbert George Griffin” by Edwards, attributing H.G Wells’ first and middle name to his creation), the original literary Invisible Man somehow resurrected and gone mad from sensory deprivation. Combined with his mysterious return to life and the sadism evidenced in his original appearance, he is convinced he has become a god. Bringing judgement on those he deems perverts and fornicators for their excess of pleasure-seeking provides moral satisfaction in place of physical sensation. Of course, from the perspective of regular mortals, he’s become a monster, an aspect that Solomon recognizes and identifies with, as he is monstrous in appearance and sometimes manner after his own resurrection. However, although he experiences alienation from humanity, it is an alienation born of being rejected by humanity, while Griffin’s alienation is a result of his own rejection of humanity.
Through it all, despite the pressing crisis, the personality conflict that drove Collette and Lucy apart proves authentic, sustained on both sides. Collette’s well-intentioned but abrasive monomaina for her community and by extension her business motivates the story, but her manner is subtly contrasted with Lucy’s relentless inquisitiveness and problem-solving using every available fact. Although they share a bond as strong women at the forefront of their worlds, and end up making an effective team at times, it’s no surprise that they do not enjoy each others’ company for long.
Sergio Calvet’s art, a staple of Halloween Man’s regular issues, works very well here. For most of the story, Griffin is fully covered or completely invisible; when he’s in between, though, is when things get interesting. A pair of apparently empty pants walking around is to be expected, but the instances of mist, fog, or blood revealing his partially-transparent outline are especially well executed.