In Review: Ten Grand #2
The covers: Two covers to choose from. Interior artist Ben Templesmith does Cover A showing our protagonist Joe Fitzgerald holding the love of this life, Laura. Both are dead, but they can enjoy this moment for five minutes. Joy and pain, simultaneously–great! Cover B is by Bill Sienkiewicz with a moody, spectral-like Joe with angel Laura high above him, but who can be between them…? Again, an excellent cover. Overall grades: Both A
The story: There’s a detailed synopsis of the previous issue if you missed it–and you shouldn’t have since a second printing of it came out the same day as this second issue! Joe’s off to the Cult of the Divine Will to find Sarah Thomas. Rather than just walk into the building and into a situation, Joe has an ally, Johnny, scope the place out in his own unique way. I’d buy a book if it featured this secondary character: I’d love to see how he makes a living and gets through the day. Learning that there’s bad mojo within, Joe enters and uses his gun to blow out a speaker to clear the main room. What he finds in the back is hellish, but obliging, to a point. After the events at the Divine Will, Joe decides to backtrack a little, leading to a sad event that gives him momentary bliss as shown on the cover. Where do you go from there? Two pages that will leave you thinking Joe’s plight is hopeless. J. Michael Straczynski increases the horror and hell in Joe’s life but allows the reader to witness five minutes of bliss that shows why he keeps going. Fantastic! Overall grade: A+
The art: Ben Templesmith has more than established himself as an artist of the supernatural. His visions of horror are amazing: he can do the horror of a society that’s decaying, as shown on Page 1, and he can show a man who’s seen too much and paid the price, Pages 2 and 3. His use of colors to show chaos are evident on Page 4 in the cultists’ dancing. Pages 6 – 10 he demonstrates hell on Earth. Pages 14 and 15 show horror up close and final. He can do the “scary”, there’s no doubt. But take a closer look, if you would, please, at what Mr. Templesmith does not get enough credit for: joy. Among all this horror, and there’s an awful lot of it, are seven panels of love. If Straczynski’s words aren’t enough to convince you of Joe’s motivations, just look at these pictures. Pages 17 and 18 are full page splashes of joy, longing and love. At 1:59 the impending loss on Joe’s face, realizing he has to end this moment with business is terrible. The fourth panel on Page 19 solidifies why he keeps going. These images show the power of love, so we should all recognize that, yes, Templesmith can do Hell quite nicely, it wouldn’t matter much if his Heaven wasn’t so worth attaining. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Great lettering by Troy Peteri, from the scrawl of the title on the first page, the dialogue from the large individual that begins on Page 5, the one word repeated on Page 12, to the most terrible sound I think I’ve read on Page 15. Wow. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Whether you go through Heaven or Hell, you should read this book! Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.