There might not be as much action in this issue as the first, but what we have is pretty damn amazing. We’re also introduced to Rachel who is the very definition of strong female character. Really she’s just a strong character, but because female characters play the “damsel” in comics so often her gender becomes notable. I have met women with Rachel’s strong personality and never once did I need to make a note of how strong they were, but that’s comics for you. Do something wrong for long enough and it becomes extraordinary when someone captures real personality traits in their story. At any rate, we start with Rachel who is waiting for her husband to arrive. Her husband is dead by the way having bled out in the desert between the first issue and the second. Rachel’s at a shitty diner in the middle of nowhere when she comes out of the bathroom to find two thugs waiting for her at her table. One of the thugs’ names is Mellon and he tells Rachel that they can do it the smart way or the dumb way. There’s some great dialogue here as Mellon threatens Rachel and we see her turn off her tears from her assumed dead husband in order to stay alive.
She makes a move for the bathroom after inflicting some physical damage on the thugs and this kicks off the action for the issue. Will Gage arrive in time to help or will Rachel just handle business on her own?
I liked this issue. It didn’t grab me as quickly as the first issue did, but after reading it and thinking about it I continued to find more and more things that I liked. I liked Rachel. I don’t get the impression that Rachel wants help from anyone and is willing to take on the world by herself to the bitter end. She doesn’t do a lot this issue, but Justin Jordan keeps her believable the entire time. You know in action or cop dramas when the character leaves the safe house and fucks up the plan… that’s not Rachel.
Jordan delivers with this issue. I really enjoy his dialogue because it feels at home in the action genre, but it’s different than all the other shit you’ve read or watched in the movies. His bad guys are evil, but they’re also human. You’re scared of them because they have a gun and can aim and have pulled that trigger many times before, not because they’re some inhuman monster that can’t be stopped. Jordan includes fun transitions as well. In the beginning we see Gage for just a page before he says, “Fuck” and then we transition to Rachel, whose very first line of dialogue is also “Fuck.” It’s moments like this that make the story fun, entertaining and very cinematic. Also the cliffhanger for this issue was good. It’s that perfect “what the hell?” moment that brings you back for the next issue for sure.
This story fits Matteo Scalera’s style. He brings the world to life and makes the action incredibly realistic. If you loved his car chases in the first issue you’ll love his gun play in the second issue. It’s not as over the top violent in this issue, but there’s still some great violence to be had. Usually I’m a fan of detailed backgrounds, but Scalera and colorist Moreno Dinisio take the solid colored backgrounds and somehow amplify the scene with their use. It’s as if a painting knife is used at times giving it an artistic look for something as simple as Rachel sitting at a table. All of the art looks as if it’s had extra ink dribbled on top of the page which keeps it looking rough and dirty just like the story. The art and story are truly balanced in this series and it makes for a great read because of it.
I did worry about this issue because a great start usually means that there’s only one place left to go, down. Sure this issue didn’t impact as much as the first issue, but I knew the lay of the land. The differences are slight though making it very difficult to score. In the end I had to decide if it was entertaining, did it move the story along or just get side tracked by the action? Well it entertained the shit out of me and definitely moved the story along so I would say that it was a great success. If you missed the first issue then pick up both issue because it’s another Justin Jordan hit.
Writer: Justin Jordan Artist: Matteo Scalera Colorist: Moreno Dinisio Publisher: Image/Skybound Entertainment Price: $2.99 Release Date: 11/22/14