By Daniel Vlasaty
I really enjoyed the first issue of this series. I thought it felt like a fresh and exciting entry into a genre of comic books that’s – for lack of a better phrase – bloated with a lot of crap. Wes Craig is telling an interesting and exciting story. And, while yes it kind of sucks that Craig’s not doing the art on top of the writing, Toby Cypress’s art is great and unique and really adds to the story. So how does issue #2 stack up compared to the first?
Like a lot of second issues of comic books, The Gravediggers Union #2 slows the narrative down to the point of almost crawling. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a bit of a drastic change from the action-packed first issue. Issue #2 is basically broken down into only three scenes. There’s the first scene which again takes place in the distant past (or to quote the book “A LONG #%!#%$% TIME AGO”). This scene is drawn by Wes Craig, and it again shows how early humans – or our monkey ancestors, I guess – were slaves to some alien creature things. Jump to present day, and our main boys (Cole, Ortiz, and Haley) are slogging through the swamp to find the witch Morphea – even though it is against the Gravediggers code, or whatever. Cole don’t give a shit though, because he wants to find some answers for the artifact he found, and how it connects to his estranged daughter. But the problem is Morphea appears to have fallen on hard times. And the other problem is Morphea talks a lot. Like sooooooo much. This scene is an example of the book moving forward at a snail’s pace. Because this scene goes on for ten pages. So yes, it is ten pages, and that’s a good chunk of the book, but it never got to a point where I was forcing myself through. The writing is still solid. It’s just a lot of talking and a lot of words and not a lot of action or movement.
Same with the next scene, too. The third and final scene, so to speak. Which introduces us to Cole’s estranged daughter, now The Great Prophet. She’s involved with some kind of shadowy organization – The Black Temple. She’s the one that’s supposed to lead The Black Temple toward whatever the hell their end game is. The Black Temple, it should be said, is a bunch of stuffy ass, rich ass white dude. They’re power people. They’re Fortune 100 CEOs. They’re people not used to being told NO. And, again, they’re resistant to “follow” a young black girl to whatever. This scene again is a lot of talking, a lot of back-and-forth. But it also serves to show us the direction The Gravediggers Union is going to take us in moving forward. And it’s a direction that I don’t think I was expecting. Illuminati and secret organizations and all that. I am interested in seeing how all of this connects to the undead and witches and vampires.
Again, like I mentioned on my review of the first issue, I want to say that a part of me is sad that Wes Craig isn’t doing more of the art for this book. But that’s because his stuff is great in Deadly Class – some of my favorite comic art comic out right now. But the other part of me doesn’t give a shit about that because Toby Cypress’s art is so good. His art fits the weirdness of the book. It’s gritty and kinetic and the colors are washed-out, in a good way. There’s also this interesting way the colors are overlaying the images that makes it all feel dream-like and hallucinatory. It especially adds to the scene where the Gravediggers are talking to the witch and she is using her powers to see/predict the future.
I’m super excited to continue to follow this book to all the unexpected places it’s going. I’m enjoying the quirky weirdness of it. And yes, I know I bagged on the pacing a bit, but I think that’s just because it’s the second issue. I understand that a first issue is going to be super ramped up because it needs to hook readers. And then the subsequent issues need to pull way back to actually do the work of telling a story, setting everything up, getting all the pieces in place. I have faith in Craig and Cypress and I’m fully on board.
Gravediggers Union #2