Review: The Occultist #2 (of 5)

The Occultist joins Project Black Sky! What!?! I’m going to start off by saying that I loved to hate this issue. It’s a good issue, don’t get me wrong. It’s just one of those issues that make you hate everything that is going on because it’s the opposite of what you want to happen with the story. A romance is brewed, but not the one you want. Rob learns some new tricks, but ones that he probably shouldn’t know. Overall you just want to smack him for all the stupid shit he’s doing. That’s why it’s a good damn issue though. I care enough about the character and his actions to want to stop him from making bad decisions. This issue starts off with our magic teacher… or at least the entity possessing his body that’s losing control, waking up and giving Rob the day off while he gets his shit together. Rob is glad to have the day off, but little does he know that our teacher/mentor is putting other plans in motion. Rob is about to get “comfortable” for the evening in his dorm room when he’s greeted by an astral projection of a girl named Luka. After Luka’s visit she calls flesh suit teacher and lets him know what’s going on.

The Occultist #2 CoverOn the flip side of the story we check in with Melendez as the story makes mention of X or the “X Killer” as he’s called in the universe. It’s a cool little side note that links The Occultist to some of the other Dark Horse titles and builds their shared universe. Melendez also pays a visit to someone in the hospital and let’s just say that her character is a lot deeper than we ever knew before. Back with Rob we find him at St. Mary Magdalene College in Rhode Island. He’s there to meet with the other collegiate magic users. Why Rob’s warning flags never raise is something only he will know, but I was left on the edge of my seat yelling at him for the rest of the issue.

There was only one thing I liked about the story in this issue and it involves Melendez’s character. She always felt shallow before and with just one scene everything about her suddenly makes sense and I liked that. I genuinely hated everything else, but it only made me like the issue even more. How rare is that in the world of comics or even storytelling? To have a story frustrate you, but appease you at the same time. It’s the mark of skilled writer which is exactly what Tim Seeley is, a skilled writer.

Seeley is of course only one part of this team and Mike Norton is never to be forgotten. Norton takes The Occultist to places it’s never been before. Space, Purgatory, nothing is off-limits and everything is wonderful. There’s a beauty to the settings, but then also eeriness to it as well. What always impresses me about Norton’s visuals is that they never dip in quality and he always manages to take on an impressive range of settings and visuals. He’s no slouch here that’s for damn sure.

I’m really looking forward to the next issue, but I have the strong sense that I’m going to be heartbroken by some of the events that will take place and that’s okay. The Occultist has never really been a “happily ever after” story and that’s definitely part of the charm. Maybe Rob will have something turn out alright for him, but he’s being tooled so hard by outside forces that it’s hard to believe he’ll come out unscathed from all this. That’s what makes storytelling so much fun; following the journey.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Mike Norton Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/6/13