I’m just going to start this review off by saying that Rise is by far my favorite series from Double Take. I love that it’s following Johnny and Barbara and that there’s clearly something up with Johnny. He’s showing some of the symptoms of the undead, but he’s still functioning like normal. I’m beginning to think that he’s going to be one of if not the first superhero of this universe and I’m okay with that. This issue begins with a new character, Amy, as she decides to leave her home. It’s the Monday after the “big event” as she walks down stairs with a baseball bat to find some undead eating all her food. She grabs some cookies and heads out. Her neighborhood is pretty messed up and its clearly bothering her a lot.
The story jumps over to Johnny and Barbara as they head out of town. They’re both hungry now and have no idea where to go at the moment. They come across Amy and Johnny convinces Barbara to stop. They talk to her, but what really sells them on her hitchhiking with them is the cookies. They head into the nearest town to get whatever supplies they can and Johnny ends up fainting in the store. The police tell him he needs to go to the campus hospital and so they do. The campus hospital is the setting for more than a few stories this time around which was actually nice to see.
I’m not going to tell you what happens next, but I will say that it’s the best damn thing so far. There’s a crossover, but there’s also just an incredibly awesome scene that finishes off the comic. When I read the first issue of Rise, I couldn’t wait to read the second issue and now that I have… I can’t wait for the third.
This series in particular just has that special something. The characters are interesting and while they’re not deep characters yet, I care about them. I care about Johnny a lot because I don’t know what’s going on with him, but I desperately want to. As far as story and presentation Rise comes across as the most polished. It’s not trying to hide where the story is going and it doesn’t have people telling random stories as the only source of dialogue. Johnny does tell a story, but it actually fit his character and gave some background on their childhood. It was relatable.
The writing is good on this issue. I like the dialogue and in particular I enjoyed the humorous moment in which Barbara asks about cookies and then tells Amy to get in the car. Now I don’t know if this is a part of the writing or the art so I’m just going to talk about it here. In just about every issue I noticed graffiti that seemed really out of place. I’m sure it’s intentional, but it’s something to keep an eye on. This story and universe is clearly growing and has big plans in store. I hope those plans and reveals are right around the corner.
The art for Rise is also my favorite. I really enjoy the style and while there’s still a couple of larger than necessary panels, I’m not actually opposed to it. It makes the comic stand out and frankly I’ve read enough cookie-cutter comics to want to see something different. It’s a different approach and I’m starting to really enjoy it. Otherwise the art maintains a clean look, with several improvements such as detailed backgrounds and unique character models. In particular, the last few panels are just… so good. So good.
Since this will be the first of my next ten Double Take reviews I’m going to talk about the recap that every issue has. It’s very Mike Allred’s Mad Man inspired as the comic presents three full pages of thumbnails from the last issue. Every page is thumbnailed so that you can see the entire previous issue. I love this type of recap. I don’t know if they’ll stick with it, but I hope so. Briefly I will also mention that the paper stock and quality remains the same at the same price point. Ah! Comics!
At this point I’m sure some people are going to start picking favorites and dropping books. I still think that’s too soon for this universe because you don’t know what you’ll miss out on, but if you are going to do that, then hold on to Rise. In my opinion there’s just a lot of talent and effort going into this series which is what makes it their best book currently.
Rise #2 – “Last Generation” Story: Michael Coast, Bill Jemas, Jeff McComsey Script: Ed Gavagan, Jeff McComsey Layouts: Kurt Tiede, Jeff McComsey Pencils: Federica Manfredi Publisher: Double Take Comics Price: $2.50 Release Date: 11/11/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital