Possessive #3: A Failure to Launch

An image of a man in a white shirt embracing a woman. The woman has a scarred face and is wearing a white dress. They are against a red background.

Possessive #3 sees Todd trying to reunite his family as the poltergeist Katheryn wreaks havoc on his life. Despite a promising premise and some fun gags along the way, this three-part horror rom-com series comes to a predictably rocky conclusion in its final chapter, leaving me rooting for Katheryn and hoping Todd gets his comeuppance in the end.

Possessive #3

Eduardo Garcia (Artist), Hans Rodionoff and Adam F. Goldberg (Writers), Riveiro and Ivan Nunes (Cover Artists), Carlos M. Mangual (Letters), and Robby Bevard (Colors)
October 20, 2021

An image of a man in a white shirt embracing a woman. The woman has a scarred face and is wearing a white dress. They are against a red background.

When we last left Todd, he and his estranged wife Jess decided to give their marriage a second chance, while Todd’s ghostly girlfriend Katheryn had other plans. Now Todd scrambles to exorcise Katheryn from the house, enlisting the help of a local rabbi to drive out the poltergeist so his family can move in. Katheryn fights to keep Todd to herself, but Todd takes the haunted phonograph from her attic lair and throws it into the nearby quarry, which appears to cast her out.

Soon Todd’s wife and kids move into the renovated manor, and everything is finally falling into place. He’s selling paintings of Katheryn and the manor and his previous trespasses are brushed aside. However, Katheryn returns to terrorize the family, attacking Jess and dragging her into the attic. This is when Todd realizes that it wasn’t the phonograph that bound Katheryn to the house but a particular song she played on it, which has an emotional connection to her past and brutal death.

Todd plays the song on his phone and throws it into the attic to trap Katheryn there, getting his family to safety and burning down the manor with Katheryn inside. But as Todd and his family escape, so does Katheryn, disappearing into one of Todd’s paintings and emerging from one of her own portraits hung in a nearby restaurant.

Artist Eduardo Garcia and colorist Robby Bevard team up one more time to deliver a storyline full of visual gags and goofy characters. Garcia’s strengths are in his expressive character reactions and a firm grasp of tone, handling the shifts from jokey banter sequences to somber moments well. Todd showing up in the attic to smooth things over with a stuffed bear and an I’m Beary Sorry balloon will always make me laugh. Katheryn visually changes from a mournful woman in white to a ghastly poltergeist from panel to panel. Sometimes an ethereal presence in a billowing gown, others a feral monster hanging from the ceiling, the fine line work and soft shapes repeated in Katheryn’s hair and dress keep her from becoming so visually monstrous that we can no longer identify with her pain.

Bevard’s color work is at its best in nighttime scenes, using such elements as lamps, fire, and Katheryn’s supernatural glow to bring a naturalistic sense of light and movement to every panel. Small touches such as blue light radiating from the bottom of Katheryn’s dress create a visual barrier between her and the living characters, casting her icy glow on everything she touches. It’s such a subtle but lovely effect that helps to convey how isolated Katheryn is even when she’s given no dialogue. Also, the stuffed bear toy in the sequence I mentioned before is the same color as Katheryn’s green skin, which, again, will always make me laugh. I’m firmly Team Katheryn, obviously.

Unfortunately, after three issues, writers Hans Rodionoff and Adam F. Goldberg never delivered on the promise of a horror rom-com. Todd still sucks, and the timeline makes no sense. His transformation takes months in this issue when in #2, it supposedly took place over weeks at most. They also can’t decide how Katheryn died, whether she was killed by her abusive husband or killed them both after months of torture at his hand. These things speak to a lack of care for their own material and make it difficult to take it seriously.

Despite trying to make Todd a lovable loser, his lies and selfishness catch up to him. His cooing wife Jess doesn’t let him get away with it, either, resolving to leave him again for cheating on her. In the end, Todd doesn’t win. His wife will leave him again, the muses he profited from in the form of Katheryn and the house are both gone, and Katheryn is loose in the world and looking for him.

Todd has learned nothing, gained nothing, and hurt everyone around him. Katheryn’s arc as a vengeful spirit also feels bleak. While I’m firmly Team Katheryn and wish her all the best in haunting Todd, the decision to give her such a profoundly traumatic backstory and hinge her happiness on Todd is short-sighted. Her violent rampages are the product of torment that the script itself doesn’t take seriously while also attempting to make her sympathetic as yet another woman hurt by Todd. I don’t expect Katheryn to self-actualize her way out of being a murderous poltergeist; still, the way her story is handled again speaks to a fundamental lack of care. She can’t move on from her own death, and while she’s been used and discarded by Todd, she’s too hung up on him to let it go. It’s tragic rather than cheeky or subversive, ending on a somber note that feels incompatible with the overall tone of the series.

In the end, Possessive had a lot of promise. The art is great, the visual gags are fun, and I unironically love Katheryn. But its tonal confusion and muddled premise ultimately undermine what could have been a truly enjoyable series. This is not a romantic comedy but a ham-fisted parody of one that doesn’t understand what it’s making fun of, relying on gore and gags as subversion. To me, this is where the series fails: it isn’t honest about what it is, and I don’t think it cares enough to find out, either.

Magen Cubed

Magen Cubed

Magen Cubed is a novelist, occasional critic, and general internet menace. Frequently seen hollering about monsters on Twitter.

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