By Jonathan Edwards
If you read my review for Cannibal vol. 1, you already know a few things about this book and me. You know that I really like it, since it's an intriguing twist on the tired zombie subgenre, and there's a level of nuance to its characters and their interactions that really works for me. You'll know that one of the sample reviews I submitted when applying to be a writer for Comic Bastards was the first issue. And, you'll also know that I tend to think it works a bit better read as a trade than issue to issue, but I personally still read it month to month. If you didn't read that review, well, now you know all that too, and it all holds true with this one. Although, this is also probably one of, if not the, best issue of the series so far.
Jesus Christ, what a first panel. It may have been a few months since the last issue of Cannibal, but that splash page did a pretty fucking good job of reminding me where everything was emotionally when we last left off with Jolene. Really, the entire first scene awesome, telling the story almost exclusively through visuals with the only exception being SFX and a single line of dialog. However, the best thing about it is how much it echoes the first sequence from the first issue while adding a whole new level to it. Because, this time it's not a stranger lamenting their actions.
As for the rest of the issue, I don't want to say too much, but it is pretty good as well. Something happened that I thought might (if I was reading between the lines correctly), and something else happened that I thought they were only trying to misdirect us into thinking would happen. It's nice to see this series moving more in that direction, as with the previous arc, there were a couple things I totally saw coming. But by the end of this one, I'm really not sure what to expect next, and it's great.
I still love Matias Bergara's art and Brian Buccellato's colors. The expressiveness and noir-ish atmosphere are just as good as I remember them, and the last scene's buildup to the issue's final panel is tremendous. But, I do have to again talk about that first splash page. The horror Jolene feels at her own actions is palpable, and the red and black panel of her screaming a couple pages later does wonders in punctuating all of that pain and sorrow. I sincerely don't believe this book would work as well if this wasn't the art we were seeing on every page.
I'm so excited Cannibal is back, and I can't wait for issue #6. I will say, unlike some other books that take breaks for a couple months, I don't necessarily think this is a great jumping on point. If you're still interested, I'd recommend checking out the trade that came out back in March. As far as I'm concerned, it's totally worth checking out, even if you don't end up digging the book. But if you've read and liked the previous issues, I'm going to say you definitely should pick this one up.
Writers: Jennifer Young, Brian Buccellato
Artist: Matias Bergara
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics