By Dustin Cabeal
There’s just something not quite there with this series yet. While the first issue was generally enjoyable, this second issue feels like it’s treading water with the same pacing and slow build up. If this was the board game of Life, we’d still be in the circle for college waiting to get our career… meaning we’ve wasted two turns with shitty spins.
We find our main character arriving at the shit berg with no rules and blah, blah, blah. He witnesses some trouble as a woman running a food stand is getting hit up for rent money. It’s a typical scam, she owes a lot of money because of her dead father but can’t pay it and has nowhere else to go. Some purplish clad people show up representing Meshe Adam, a gang that is taking over the docks and “fights for the people.” After the showdown in which the food stall is destroyed, our main dude helps her pick up and asks vague ass questions about the possibility of his son coming through there. It seems farfetched that the very first food stall would have recognition of his son, but hey the story needs to start somewhere. Eventually, the first group of assholes come back to the food stall and chase off the main character. He ducks down an alleyway takes off his shirt and covers himself in mud… or just a bunch of fucking dirty alley shit and goes back and beats ass.
The ass beating isn’t remarkable. It’s not exciting and seems to line up pacing wise to the first quick fight of the first issue. Frankly, the story is taking too much time trying to be clever and build characters. Our first “bad guy” is just a two-bit gangster. There’s a quick attempt to make him look smart and evil as he blackmails two men for being gay. It certainly made him unlikable but in a generic way. Worse, when the main dude (I forget his name, and it isn’t said once in the issue) rallies the people, this dumb fucker thinks his bullshit plan is working. His stock plummeted. If he was so smart, he would ask more questions. Why now? What proceeded this? Frankly, his entire plan is shit, and his execution is about the same.
Listen, I don’t care about nudity in comics. I certainly don’t care about male nudity other than the fact that it seems like no one in comics is A) circumcised or B) has a penis affected by water or cold or both. Point in case our main dude showers under a broken water line or drain runoff, buck fucking naked and is still packing some heat under his giant bush of pubes. That aside, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to be standing in an alleyway naked showering. He wasn’t covered with blood; he was covered in mud. Mud that he rubbed all over himself like a Hollywood Vet going crazy in the woods. Instead of just washing off the mud he gets completely naked… and then goes and finds a hotel. Where it's instantly more believable that he would shower there. Show me his dick, I don’t care, but at least put some logic into where he’s showering. If he was a super trained killer, I don’t buy that he would expose himself to such a harsh climate. This city is full of killers, and he’s going to stand naked in an alleyway showering under a dirty drain because he’s “starting now”? This simple scene that was supposed to be mature and possibly shocking with its nudity instead left me questioning the intelligence of this character.
The writing is following a familiar pattern. There’s nothing wholly original here other than the setting. The outline bears some similarities to stories found in Sin City or just revenge based tales in general. The dialogue is soft and fails to give any of the characters personalities. They’re all pretty hollow and sound the same. It’s like bad actors yelling intense lines that come out cheesy.
Garry Brown’s artwork is the star of the show, but even then, there are so many dips in the details that it becomes distracting. There were far too many all black backgrounds and then something like the alley scene has this incredible field of depth to it. The details on character’s faces fade from panel to panel. The bad guy we meet looks like Lex Luthor with a bird nose and never once has a spec of detail that would distinguish him otherwise. The action is wonderful but far too quick. It doesn’t have a sense of flow because it’s over as quickly as it begins. The coloring is rustic and earthy which gives the story a tone. Something that’s desperately missing from the writing. The art is the best part, but there’s more than a few stumbles on this issue.
For once, I would love to read a revenge story following a bad ass trained dude that didn’t have him making stupid choices. The story has become predictable at this point. Our main character will continue to follow the trail of his son’s death, and along the way, he’ll get his ass kicked and beaten. He’ll be in the dark the entire time, and I’m sure there will be a bunch of unpredictable twists because this type of story can’t hint at them without giving them away completely. We’ll see, but the writing is on the wall, in the alleyway… where this dude was smearing mud poop on his face and chest, for some reason.