If you ask me, there aren’t enough fantasy comics on the shelf today. There are no budgets in comics save for ink and paper so comics can push what we know about fantasy in all sorts of ways. Writer Max Landis definitely delivered an exciting introduction to characters that seem slightly familiar last month, but how is issue #2? Is it good?
Green Valley #2 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? For the full Image summary just read this:
“THEN CAME A BOY…” MAX LANDIS & GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI’s epic adventure continues!
Why does this book matter?
Forget that Max Landis is a successful screenwriter in Hollywood and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli has proven he can do it all on Spider-Man. This story is just getting started and you better believe it’s going to get more interesting. The first issue delivered on action, character work, and tragedy. The heroes need to find purpose now that they’ve lost it all–exactly where you want your heroes for maximum drama.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s not looking good eh?
Like any good story, there’s a call for the protagonist to rise up and do something with themselves. This issue tackles that aspect and then some due to some sharp dialogue and good character work. The characters are hurting now that they’ve lost those they loved and the castle they swore to protect. They aren’t young, and have not much more to look forward to than think about the past, but as the cover suggests a boy enters their lives. Landis does well to capture the glee a retired yet grizzled vet goes through when asked to get back to it, especially when they still have gas in the tank.
A lot of time is spent in this issue developing the relationships of the characters now that their lives have been overturned. One might say you don’t know a person until their chips are down and Landis has certainly put them in such a place. As they ruminate on the past and attempt to hold on to it Landis explores how they’re dealing.
Camuncoli kills it on this issue, especially with the character acting. The characters go through many emotions and probably the most difficult to capture, sullen depression, is spot on. These characters are hurting emotionally and Camuncoli captures that perfectly. There are also some fantastic fantasy tropes in play that look gorgeous. For instance, when the characters are leaving for their quest they ride their horses out with crows, looking quite ominous indeed.
Oh yeah, it’s real bad.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Save for the character work this is a table setting issue that takes too much time to get going. It’s always welcome to get inside the characters’ heads, but it’s not quite efficient enough to make this read like an exciting fantasy yarn. It doesn’t help that it concludes in a somewhat obtuse way either.
Is It Good?
Well written character development issue that sets up the next big challenge. The fact of the matter is, Landis will make you believe these characters are real and Camuncoli will make you believe they feel.