By Laramie Martinez
In Ether #2 Matt Kindt doesn’t spend a lot of time ruminating on the big reveal from last issue. Instead he continues to knock the credibility of our narrator as we learn more about his past and the extreme methods he takes to travel to the Ether. This issue is really just a big juxtaposition of the two roles Boone Dias takes on either side of the dimensional portal. We see the heights from which he has fallen on earth, made all the more tragic by the diligence he shows as he hunts for clues in Ether.
It’s funny, as the world of Ether becomes more and more clear, what happened to Boone Dias earthside become more and more convoluted. It makes me wonder if he really is experiencing all of these encounters that occur in Ether or if the world is the product of his broken mind. There are a few hints of the later throughout the issue, he has all the tendencies of an unstable and unreliable narrator. But the depth and intrigue of the magical world makes me want to believe it is real. Until we see Dias interact with the “real” world we won’t be able to guess if he is experiencing reality or not, of course the closer he gets to solving the mystery in Ether I imagine the less time he will spend on earth. It is an interesting set-up even if the main conflict is easy to see this early on. But this issue isn’t all about questioning reality, there is some hard concrete plot movement through magical bullet analysis, and some backstory for Dias’ guide, Glum.
The art is great in this issue. Again, a lot of world building is left to David Rubin. His layouts are brilliant, not too convoluted but not too sparse either. His art serves the story well without becoming boring or formulaic. The most impressive aspect of this issue is probably the colors, I’m a sucker for tie-dye, acid-dipped pigments and Rubin’s style has them in spades. They also serve as a great signpost, noting when the story has entered the world of flashback.
At this point the most interesting thing about this book isn’t the main whodoneit plot thread. The most interesting aspect is whether or not Boone Dias is actually experiencing all of these adventures or if he is just a man telling himself something to keep going.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: David Rubin
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics