I don’t know where this series came from, but it’s quickly become one of my favorites of the year. If you’re not reading it, you really are missing out on a great comic. Why Boom isn’t pushing this series down everyone’s throats is beyond me. What makes this series so good? Well the story for one. This issue picks up with Thomas Alsop aka the Hand of the Island as he’s recording another episode of his webseries in which he’s known as a supernatural detective though I’d say his job duties surpass just being a detective. His case today involves a woman by the name of Lisa Van Patrcik, a witch that killed hundreds and now haunts the place of the murders. We get a look at Thomas’ arsenal when dealing with spirits as he pulls out items an inventory card pops up for the item. It definitely added a layer to Thomas and his family’s backstory. He does the job he came to do and it really looks like a simple case over and done… minus the fire he causes.
After being cleared he heads home to his girlfriend and blows off his best-friend and manager for drinks. I’m sure this will play into the story later as there is clearly something up with his friend and the mention of “girlfriend.” His girlfriend conveniently has gone through his record collection and found a vinyl of his old band. This stirs up memories of his former band mate that died on 9/11. The next morning Thomas is summoned to Alsop manor by his sister to have a family meeting of sorts.
The story once again jumps to the past, but doesn’t stay there nearly as long this time. It’s actually a good thing because it forces the reader to spend more time with Thomas. If you recall from my review of the first issue I was on the fence about him. Here in this issue he shows his heart more. Pay close attention to that opening scene because it’s not throwaway TV time, it has real relevancy to his character and made me crave more of his backstory. I’m pretty sure we’ll see more of Thomas’ backstory, but something writer Chris Miskiewicz has done is create a rich history for this world to continue in. Since the Alsop lineage is long the story potential is pretty endless.
The pacing of this issue is spot on. It bounces from scene to scene at the right moment and nothing comes across as filler. Especially with the outcome of the opening, it only made me pay more attention to what Thomas is saying. There are definitely three versions of the truth that he presents. There’s the TV version, the webseries which peels back several layers to reveal most of the truth and then there’s the truth. In the last issue Thomas presented the manifestation of his powers as kind of a surprise to him, but after this issue you can see that they may not have been true. He may not have been interested in the powers, but the knowledge of them was far more personal than he lets on. Suddenly this man who comes off as a pompous rock star is an onion putting up a good front for the public. Miskiewicz rebounds his character from the somewhat unlikable person he was in the first issue and it’s smooth and subtle.
Another item I was on the fence about with my previous review was the artwork. It wasn’t that I disliked Palle Schmidt’s art; I just didn’t know if I liked it or loved it. I definitely reside on the latter side of the fence after this issue. When you pair the art with the fact that Thomas is hiding his true personality suddenly you begin to see and understand the body language that Schmidt is giving him. His “nonchalant” stroll down a hallway or the way he sinks into the back of a cab. They’re expected of his character, but not necessarily a reflection of his personality. Don’t think for one second that the visuals don’t add to the complexity of the character. That and I really loved the way the index cards looked in the panels. It’s a small nuance for sure, but it’s an effect that pops when done well.
It’s rare that a second issue is better than the first and rarer that you’ll bite your nails off waiting for the third, but that’s the case here. I’m far more impressed with this second outing than the first and I was smitten with the debut for sure. This year has produced some incredible mini-series and I’ve been fortunate enough to jump on a lot of them. Lucky for me I grabbed this book because I think I would have missed it with how under the radar it appears to be. Buy the first issue and buy this issue and join me biting my nails for the third.
Writer: Chris Miskiewicz Artist: Palle Schmidt Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/9/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital