Let me just say how happy I am that I reviewed the second issue separate from the first. I’ll be honest my fear for this issue was whether or not it would be able to capture the same tone and strangeness of the first issue. It’s easy to start weird, but it’s something else to continue to be weird. Thankfully the second issue of And Then Emily Was Gone not only captured the same tone as the first issue, but it outshined it on many levels. What wasn’t as apparent with the first issue as the second is the title page. A lot of people tend to just blow through this page already knowing the creators and so it’s easy to miss the fact that our issue begins here. In this issue as with the last there are a series of post-it notes with important questions to keep in mind while reading. In the first issue there was only one question, “Where is Emily Munro?” but in the second issue there are several other questions on the board. Read the page carefully as it will actually help you if you missed anything previously.
This issue starts with two characters that I didn’t talk about in my first review. Their names are Vincent (or Vin) and Louise. Vincent is in the business of killing people. He heads to a strange building to get his next assignment and to introduce Louise to the bosses, but not really because as Vincent says, “you don’t ever want to go upstairs” referring to where the boss is at. It’s unclear if he’s trying to get Louise a job or not, but upon announcing her “the man” upstairs calls the receptionist Agnes. Agnes is a normal looking older woman. There’s nothing strange about her until she talks to the man upstairs and her left eyeball fills with blood and begins dripping down her face. The man upstairs has a job for Vincent, but tells him not to bring guests there anymore. Vincent’s job? Well, let’s just say it’s one of the characters we met in the first issue.
Back in Merksay, Hellinger and Fiona check into a B&B under fake names. Fiona has wrapped her face in bandages to avoid being recognized and their cover story is that she was in an accident and hasn’t spoken since. Fiona begins leading Hellinger around to different spots on the island as they look for Emily, but the one thought that plays over and over in Hellinger’s head is that she’s already dead.
This is a fantastic issue with so much going on that I don’t want to spoil it. Every character introduced in the first issue is checked in with, but with the core of our story now happening on Merksay Island there’s even more characters to meet.
I know I said that this book was weird, but I meant that in the best possible way. It defies your logic and challenges you to think about the mystery. I don’t know why Hellinger was a cop famous for being able to find anyone he was looking for, but we get glimpses of how he did it in this issue. Reading his thought process was astounding to say the least. My absolute favorite scene from the comic was Agnes. It was like something out of The Fifth Element, but far scarier and even less acknowledged by the characters as she began to bleed. John Lees nails it on the story yet again, making this issue even better than the first.
Iain Laurie goes nuts on this issue! The scene with Hellinger trying to figure out what happened to Emily was awesome and beautiful. The way Hellinger floats above the setting in a black suit and tie was the perfect element to the story. What was even better was Emily’s character that became more and more decrepit as Hellinger comes to the same conclusion over and over. There aren’t as many monsters in this issue as the first, but there are far more scenes of terror. One such scene comes with Emily’s mom opens the box her husband built. It’s a very intense page that highlights so many strengths of the art.
Having seen the series first in black & white and then color I have to say it works as both. The art definitely adds the creepiness, but then the black & white makes it look mysterious. I selfishly want there to be an option for both going forward, but I'll be happy to settle with Megan Wilson's coloring as she continues to be the right fit for Laurie's artwork.
I’m dying for the next issue. This series caught me off guard and has kept me there, but I’ve enjoyed every page of it. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it finds its way onto one of my end of the year lists, it’s that fucking good. Also I still can’t get over how awesome the title is. Okay, go buy it now.
Writer: John Lees Artist: Iain Laurie Colorist: Megan Wilson Publisher: ComixTribe Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/27/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print Website