Friday #6 was the first issue in this series that I didn’t write a review for, and that’s for a very simple reason: I couldn’t make up my mind about it. Did I love it or hate it? Friday #6 was a massive change in direction for the series. It sees the supernatural elements of the story — only hinted at in previous issues — take center stage. With monsters and time travel now in the mix, and what felt like a drastic change in tone, I just needed to see how it all shook out to know what I thought. Friday #7 shows how writer Ed Brubaker, artist Marcos Martin, and colorist Muntsa Vicente bring us back home. They prove to us that this change in tone does work for the series, and not only that, they show us that the supernatural elements have been there all along, hiding in the darkness.
Part of what makes Brubaker’s script work so well is that we’re not the only ones trying to wrap our heads around these weird new developments; Friday is too. Having hopped to the past, we see the events of the first issue but from a different angle. Friday tortures herself with questions of agency. Can she change the past now that she’s here? If she was here all along, does that mean things are destined to stay the same? This is a brilliant example of Brubaker not stopping at the usual superficial trappings of a time travel story. He isn’t interested in Friday’s journey back in time being simple set dressing. No, he’s immediately connecting us to the emotional ramifications of something like this. Friday has said goodbye to her best friend — it’s something she’s still processing. So how is she going to process seeing him alive again, unsure if she can do anything to save him? As always, Friday Fitzhugh stuffs the panic down and trudges on, which is what makes us feel for her and love her all the more.
Martin makes you feel like you’re experiencing everything with the characters. It’s only when you hone in on Martin’s methods of storytelling that you realize why you’re so immersed. At one point, Friday hits her head and is slowly regaining consciousness. Martin shows the next page from Friday’s point of view and makes every other panel pitch black. You can feel the heaviness of her eyelids as she’s waking up. But what’s even better about this moment is that the panels aren’t the same size. The panels shrink as they go on, showing Friday pushing back against blacking out, her eyes closing for less and less time as she tries to get up.
And when things get more otherworldly, Martin’s linework becomes thicker and wavier, making you almost feel like another artist has stepped in. “These things don’t belong,” is your first thought, which is surely what Martin intends with this change of style. And speaking of Martin’s style, Friday #7 is chock full of style. Everything from a simple panel of Weasel holding the stone knife, his crooked shadow cast against a nearby wall, to Friday’s face split in two by a gutter, showing her struggle with agency and inability to move against the passage of time. Everything is picturesque, beautiful, and deeply effective. Martin absolutely shines in this issue, pulling you headfirst into this wild and twisting story.
When you sit down to read Friday #7, bring a jacket. You’re going to need it. That’s because Vicente’s coloring actually has you feeling like you’re there, standing in the snow with Friday. You can feel the cold in the deep blues that are cast across each page, contrasted by the subtle, warm red glow of Friday’s cigarette. You’ll want to pull your collar up and you’ll find yourself blinking against the snowflakes that seem to fly off the page and into your face.
Just like with Martin’s change in style, Vicente highlights how jarring it is for Friday to be seeing what she’s seeing. The scene gets flooded with neon green and fluorescent purple. The cacophony of pink, yellow, and red that follows perfectly sums up Friday’s confusion and panic. What in the world is going on? Where did the comfortable world of soft blues and muted browns disappear to? As Friday runs in the opposite direction of everything, she dives back into that old, familiar world. But there’s a pink glow in her glasses, like she’s still seeing it all play out before her, even if she’s gotten away for now.
From the warbled tails that lead to Weasel’s ranting dialogue, to the scratchy, primitive looking language of monsters, there’s so much to love about the lettering in this issue. As Friday is ducking through scenes we’ve seen before in Friday #1, trying to remain unseen and unheard, her dialogue often shows up through tiny letters on big white balloons. She’s hushed, often confused and even scared as she speaks. And as small and intimate as the lettering gets, it gets just as big and vibrant. The jumbled green block letters of a scream wrap around the source of the noise, tumbling down the page frantically. The language the monsters speak shows up on bright word balloons of different colors. Everything they say stands out as being strange, maybe even beautiful? Martin’s work on lettering is as stunning as his work on art, full of lovingly added details and exciting flourishes.
If I’m completely honest, there was a part of me that didn’t want to like Friday #7. I had fallen in love with a vision of where I thought this series was going — a version of Friday’s story that felt incredibly subtle and kept the magical elements in the margins of the story, only appearing in ambiguous sequences that could all turn out to be dreams. But, damn it. I was wrong. Friday #7 shows me that all those things I loved, all the subtlety and emotional heart at the center of the story, are still intact. There might be ghosts and ghouls coming out of the woodwork, but the questions we’re left with are still all about the characters and their motivations. Friday #7 brilliantly marries the paranormal elements of this series to the poignant story of self-discovery that Friday has been on. You can find issues of Friday on Panel Syndicate where you can pay what you want when you download them. Check them out and give what you can — it’s more than worth it! Friday is a constantly evolving masterpiece. It’s one of those rare works that wants to “do everything” and somehow succeeds.