The first volume of this anthology was definitely one of my favorite collections of music and comic books and it makes a triumphant return with a new collection of stories. There are a few returning stories/creators from the first volume which I was glad to see, but mostly it was a fresh batch of music inspired comic shorts. The first story… just wow. Fucking wow. I was so shocked and taken back by this story that I laughed because it was so uncomfortable and yet awesome. The story is called “Farewell” and it’s created by Jon Westhoff and Bobgar Ornelas. I’m going to avoid spoilers so fear not. It follows a band called The Kings as they announce a sudden retirement during the height of their popularity. The story also follows one uber fan as she and her boyfriend get ready for what’s turned out to be their last show. As much as I liked and even loved some of the other stories, “Farewell” in particular blew my mind and I absolutely loved it. Was it the best choice to start the issue with? Yes and no. It sets the bar really high for other stories to top it, but it also puts you in a great mood for the rest of the issue.
The next story “Cover Up” stars the characters of Jack and the Jammers, which was one of my favorite stories in the first anthology. It’s a strange story in which the Jammers are going from show to show only to have their opening act play their entire set before them. The fake band even has a guy in a suit that looks similar to Jack. What I like about Jack and the Jammers is that they can never catch a break, but they always manage to continue on with new adventures. It’s the perfect place for them as it keeps their story from being dull. I don’t know if this story was as strong as the first, but it was still entertaining and had some humor. Mat Nixon’s art is definitely in a state of growth as parts of the art were improved, while other parts were very loose and stood out from the rest of the art. It was still good, but again it looks like his style is developing (for the better of course).
Dan Dougherty returns with another tale and instead of “feeding the beast”, this time he attacks the creative process. I really enjoyed this tale and I’m sure anyone that’s ever done something creative can relate to it. The strangest thing in the world to be asked is, “where did that idea come from” like there was a letter you received from the idea creator that gave you the damn thing rather than it just falling out of your brain. Dougherty perfectly shows how something as simple as a walk can create a song. It was a very strong story and I’m glad to see that his art is at the same level of quality.
I’m going to squeeze in one more that I really enjoyed called, “A Matter of Life or Death.” It’s set in a futuristic sci-fi world and the band that we follow is about to hit the stage of a competition that will determine if they live or die. The idea behind it is that there are too many bands in the world, so they’re forced to perform for one very harsh judge and if they survive they continue to rock on and if not then their heads are chopped off. I really liked the way the music was illustrated as it captured the feel of live music. The sketchy look of the art and the simplicity of the story are great, but the creativeness of the plot was a huge part of both.
Once again there are a bunch of stories and I wish that I could say that I loved all of them, but there were a few that were just okay. Alright there was like one that was just okay and the rest were really good. If you checked out the first Bandthology and liked it then you’ll love this volume as well. If you’re new to the series then you don’t need to have read the first collection to read this one, but if you like the sound of this one there’s no harm in getting both. The issue is basically a double sized issue so the price tag is justified by the value. If you dig music based stories then you’ll definitely want to check this issue out. Lastly, it’s worth it just for the first story alone. Seriously, it was so fucking good!
Score: 5/5 (Thank the first story)
Creators: Jon Westhoff, Bobgar Ornelas, Wendi Freeman, Mat Nixon, Dan Dougherty, Andrew Vanderbilt, Aaron Pittman, Matt Collander, Don Cardenas, Tony Maldonado, Greg Sorkin, Lauren Burke
Cover: Brain Churilla
Publisher: King Bone Press