Review: Butterfly #2

Much like the band Bush tried to do in 1994, the first issue of Butterfly begged us to remember that it’s the “little things” that kill. That’s something you’ll have to remember while treading into this book. It does not exist beneath a hail of bullets or a screen of explosions; this is a story about the beats between the bedlam, and it works ... for the most part. Like its first issue, Butterfly #2 is a story told in two parts. The first shows covert operative, Rebecca Faulkner, stumbling into her long-thought-dead father’s new, secret life in France. Writer Marguerite Bennett sets a palpable tension between the two here as they distrustfully size each other up for almost the entirety of the first half. It’s sparse and awkward, professionally tepid, and it all just makes you cringe a little bit, right before they’re forced into action; i.e., getting the fuck out of Dodge.

Butterfly_002_coverThe second part of the book continues to follow the lost years of Butterfly’s father, David. Like his daughter, these were mostly spent in the employ of Project Delta. This latter half of the book I found to be the more powerful, although I will admit it got a bit confusing. Some of that is thanks to its regressive jump in time every few pages, and simply that it’s being intentionally vague. But it felt oddly disjointed at points, and I feel some of its impact may have been muffled because of it.

Still, in its repetitive talk of “stains” and the moral conundrums David finds himself in as an operative, you get a sense not just of his vastly fractured character, but of the life people like he and his daughter must lead in their chosen line of work. Again, there aren’t any shots fired in either half of this book, and there’s only one afterthought of an explosion, because so far this isn’t the blast. It’s the fuse.

By virtue of that fact, Butterfly #2 is not the most exciting book you will read this week, which may be the other side of the coin when you do two stories at once: it’s a much slower game. And yet, I do remain interested in this series. Bennet knows how to squeeze a scene with her terse dialogue, but it’s the pairing of Becca and David’s respective inner monologues that proves to be the most gripping element of the issue. I especially like the way the second half ends, with a fantastic hand-written metaphorical blood splatter on the tablecloth. Great stuff.

In terms of the artistic direction in Butterfly #2, as much as I generally like his work, I have to say I’m still getting used to Fuso’s art. In fact, it may just be a question of color. I think his angular, sketchy, heavily-shadowed style works better under Guzowski’s filter in the second half of the story better than the crisper colors used in Becca’s portion. Muting it in such a way seems to give it more gravity, and the visual side of the story more of an eroded depth, which works better and makes it feel less wooden.

I’m giving Butterfly #2 a 3/5, with the understanding that it’s a strong 3/5. It grinds a touch here and there, gets perhaps more convoluted than it should near the end and suffers from a few artistic inconsistencies, but it has some fantastic bits of dialogue and introspection, and more than a few really, really interesting ideas that I cannot wait to see developed and brought together as the series progresses.

Score: 3/5

Story: Arash Amel Writer: Marguerite Bennett Artist: Antonio Fuso Colorist: Adam Guzowski Publisher: Archaia/BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/22/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital