By Dustin Cabeal
Having enjoyed the first volume of Geis, pronounced “Gesh,” I was looking forward to this second volume. The incredible thing that creator Alexis Deacon has done with this story is created a layered world, filled with unique and relatable characters. It’s also full of magic and mystery which in why the first volume stood out so much.
This second volume of Geis picks up right where the first volume ended. Lady Lo has narrowly made it into the castle and helped others along the way. She and a few others have made the horrible discovery that this is a game of life and death. Unfortunately, Lo has been poisoned and is unable to inform the others. The game continues as the remaining people are ushered into the main room. Magic divides them, and their clothing changed to either black or white. From there, they’re given two objects and told that the game would be played until only one side remains and to keep the rules. They’re not given any rules, but there is one clue written in the middle of the floor that says, “As it is written, so shall it be.”
Just like in the story, some are quick to figure it out, and others learn the hard way. The outcome is very interesting because a smart person with a kind heart could easily figure out a way to defeat the game and keep everyone alive, but the charm of the story in Geis, is that this contest is revealing the hideous underbelly of humankind. While the last volume primarily focused on Lo, this volume follows and dives into Nemas’ story. He is built to be the darkness to Lo’s light. Much like the last volume, supporting cast members are also developed, while the previous batch of characters goes through some troubled times.
It’s always incredibly bold when a storyteller changes their character permanently. In this instance, I’m referring to physical appearances, but these appearances play a huge role in the story. Lo is still scarred on his face, and so is Nemas on his opposite side. There are two other big character changes in the story that are specific to the plot so I won’t spoil them. It’s risky to do that to your characters because in comics; readers love the way a character looks. For Deacon though, he’s showing that none of these characters are safe. That they are going through a test filled with fire and fury and that only one of them can make it out alive.
Deacon’s artwork is stunning. Not only do the characters come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s a beauty to them all. The cover is stunning, showing Nemas as a mirrored image over and over. It’s very symbolic of his journey through the volume as he splits over and over becoming a mere reflection of his former self. The black and white clothing is a nice touch, it plays to the strength of the game, but isn’t dull to look at. There were a few spots in which the action was hard to follow, but nothing so unbearable that I was lost. It could have used a few more panels or pages or just a different selection for the sequence. It’s also likely that others won’t have a problem with it, but for me, it was hard to tell at some points how the action was flowing. The coloring is wonderful, and watercolored, which again makes the black and white clothing stand out. The coloring gives Geis a distinct and unique look.
The only thing I would say about Geis vol. 2, is that you must read volume one beforehand. This is not a story that you can jump into at any point and know what’s going on. I almost needed a refresher before reading this volume because it had been a while since I read the first volume. Otherwise, the story is layered and building wonderfully towards its ending. It’s filled with dangerous and unique challenges for the characters making every page mysterious. There are some magic and fantasy elements for sure, but the characters are grounded making them relatable. How they go through the dangers is relatable so even if you’re not a fantasy fan you’ll find enjoyment in seeing how real characters go through these dangers. Geis vol. 2 doesn’t disappoint but also manages to surpass the first volume in some ways.
Geis vol. 2 – A Game Without Rules