The covers: On the Main cover Klarion is seeming to enjoy the battle with his new friend/foe Rasp who’s under the effects of a drug. I really like when artists draw their magical characters with energy coming out of their hands in geometrical patterns, much like Steve Ditko began with Doctor Strange many years ago. Trevor McCarthy is doing just that on this cover, plus he’s also got a great composition: against the backdrop of a gothic urban setting, his two characters are doing battle with magic, though Rasp is also using some type of energy whip. I like the feral look on his face and Klarion is in seven heaven during this skirmish. The coloring is exceptional. I like the bright colors of their powers, plus that pattern that’s underneath the “Rasp’s Deadly Rage!” and the blue border at the top and the right are gorgeous. This is a bright, shiny cover. The Variant cover is by Andrea Sorrentino is a drop dead gorgeous photo realistic cover of a close-up of the title character with his hand open before the reader, red flame licking about it. He looks amazing and this is how I picture this character when I hear his name. DC would be wise to use this image in ads for this book. Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+
The story: I enjoyed the story much more this time than with the premiere issue. Ann Nocenti’s tale opens with Rasp and Klarion fighting at the Necropolitan Club, with the former feeling the rush from some new drug that was given to him. Rasp started this knockabout when he thought that Klarion was making moves on Zell, the girl he loves. That wasn’t the case and our lead is just trying to get Rasp to stop. When phones are taken out by the normals watching, Zell tells Klarion he’s got to end things quickly. I really like that Klarion is not being the most heroic of characters. He’s got much more power than he’s letting on and could wipe out anyone if he wanted to, but he’s refraining in difference to his new friends, though the thought does cross mind that he could kill them. Back at the Moody Museum, the three play catch up on what happened, while the baddies at the club reveal what their goals are and how Rasp is already a part of their scheme. Readers now know what the villains are up to, the triangle of Klarion, Zell, and Rasp takes a big turn on the final page, and there’s increased anticipation that the star of this book is going to reveal his true self in destructive fashion. A very enjoyable read. Overall grade: A
The art: The visuals on this book were also much improved over last issue. The book wasn’t so dark and readers got to see several characters in action. The opening six pages at the club were set up nicely; I especially enjoyed the partial double-paged splash on Pages 2 and 3 that showcased each fighter. Trevor McCarthy is also doing a really nice job of filling in every inch of space with something interesting. The technological spiders (just go with this) look really cool in the opening fight, highlighting both brawlers’ backgrounds simultaneously. He does the same when the characters reach the Moody Museum, laying out the page like a floor map, but still telling the story with ease. There’s a very impressive shot of a museum room that will have trivia junkies searching for familiar references. The Apothecary page tells the required amount of story, though it’s set up like a page in a book. This happens throughout the issue and shows that McCarthy is not only a good artist but a clever one to fill all the spaces. This is slick work. Overall grade: A
The colors: There is a perfect mix of dark and light with the coloring done by Guy Majors. I’m impressed with the way Majors can make the magical and technical aspects of this book luminescent. The first page has a tremendous explosion instantly recognizable as magic in nature due to it’s sickly green color. The blast is offset by the use of purple in the title and credits on the page. The blues coming off of Klarion on the book are sharp, especially when he’s in action. The yellows are great on Page 7, showing a different individual’s magical powers. Also neat are the industrial greens on 14 and 15. They’re beautifully sick. Overall grade: A
The letters: This series is a wonderful showcase for Pat Brosseau to show off. Brosseau creates scene settings, narration, dialogue, opening title and credits, Shroud identification, sound effects, Moody Museum map fonts, evil Coal’s dialogue, and buddybot speech. The lettering on this book is absolutely key in assisting readers to swiftly identify who is speaking and who is not human. Overall grade: A+
The final line: A big improvement from the first issue and leaves me wanting more now. The anti-hero is alive and well with Klarion. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.