Review: Cloaks #2

Besides breaking out of a pair of handcuffs, there’s not much magic to this issue, the stage kind or any other. While the first issue showed signs of promise, the follow-up already seems to be sinking in to some clichés of the spy thriller genre while offering up little in entertainment value. After his reunion with his mentor Blackstone from the last issue, Adam the lead and magician prodigy decides to join up with the Cloaks organization rather than go to jail. Blackstone tells Adam that he’s needed for an important mission, and one montage and a security breach later, we find out what that mission is. It wasn’t much of a shock when Evy returned in this issue as its antagonist, and I found it a bit grating when the Cloaks agents told Adam that he was chosen because he and Evy are a 94% match in their thinking (as opposed to the whole making a bull statue disappear with a few flourishes), which would therefore allow him to intercept her in a way that none of the others could.

Cloaks02_coverIt’s a lot to ask any comic to be groundbreaking in its storytelling, but what bugs me about Cloaks right now is that it seemed to have figured out a way of using the comic medium to tell a story about a close-up magician and his illusions in a visually engaging manner. Perhaps there’s more of that to come in the future, but when four pages are devoted to an entirely unnecessary montage that’s neither funny nor provides much insight into Adam or his new supporting cast, I don’t feel I can hold out much hope that this comic will astonish in its final two issues. A montage works when it shows us a character’s devotion to improving in a certain craft or skill in a quick way. Cloaks fails at it because everything we’re shown are things we already know from the previous issue. We got that he was observant, and athletic, so what was the point of showing us him doing field training over just a few days? Did he really get better at shooting, spotting, or fighting within that time span? The whole thing reeks of filler.

Another annoyance was that we’re not really provided any reason to care about Cloaks having their agents identities revealed. We’re given no information on anything righteous the organization has done, nor do we get to know any of their agents in a way that would make us concerned for their safety. Currently, everyone just exists to tell Adam how awesome he is and spout exposition, and when they’re not doing that, they allow him to spill the details of their entire operation to his brother. WTF, super clandestine group? With internal security like that, it’s surprising that they’ve avoided exposure up to this point.

I’m halfway through this miniseries, so I’ll probably stick around just to see where this heads. Hopefully we get an actual plot twist next issue, or at least a rabbit out of a hat. I’d settle for that.

Score: 2/5

Writer: Caleb Monroe Artist: Mariano Navarro Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/1/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital