The time for mourning is over. It is what it is, but is it good?
Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and the Bird #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Written by Caitlín R. Kiernan
Art by Daniel Warren Johnson
Colored by Carlos Badilla
Cover by Greg Ruth
Release date: January 13th
Issue 2 hits the brakes some from the quick pace and intensity set by issue one. There is far more down time and development with Maisie as a character. As a new reader it allowed me to make more connections both with the story and her as a character this issue and series going forward.
The issue is progressed mainly through a conversation between Maisie and Bird. This is the standout both from this and the previous issue for me. I genuinely enjoyed the back and forth between the two characters in this issue. There is some subtle humor, exposition and honesty between these two.
Not being familiar with the previous stories I still find myself in the dark at times to the larger plot of this issue and series. There is a good amount of foreshadowing this issue, as there was in issue one. Kiernan does a good job again balancing exposition when it seems appropriate. It’s worked into coherent dialog that feels again very natural.
Kiernan is able to present very distinct voices for all involved and fit it into the story progression. Where Maisie and Bird feel more open and able to tell a more direct portion of the story, the rightly odd and twisted Asquith twins’ dialog is just that. It fits the two characters as portrayed so far. It is vague enough to feel like it provides some hints, but dark enough to feel like it would come from their minds.
Boy, the writing on this business card is hard to read.
Johnson excels again this issue with some really great character moments. I enjoy the way he is able to bring an often beaten down and tired look and expression to Maisie. This issue steps away from some of the creepier elements but when it dips its toes into those areas Johnson does wonders. I would like to see more from him as the series continues being able to build of the horror elements of the book. There are not as many big moments for Johnson this issue but he makes the most of the environments and composition. Badilla’s colors set a good tone and transition from scenes.
Is It Good?
Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, and The Bird #2 is what I would expect from a second issue in a limited series. Issue one started off very strong and grand, whereas the second issue slows in its pace and scale but progresses the story and that’s all you could really want from another issue. It does feel a bit disjointed from where we left Maisie and where we find her in #2; that said, Kiernan and Johnson use this issue however to build a very compelling Maisie. With what seems to be coming for Maisie in the coming issues I appreciate being able to become invested in her before it’s too late.