Cash looks for his missing girlfriend Jolene after finding her home ransacked in Cannibal #2. With a world ravaged by a deadly virus, will he be able to find her before it’s too late?
Cannibal #2 (Image Comics)
Cannibal #2 makes great use of its small town setting to build tension. After discovering that Jolene is missing and her home ransacked, Cash embarks on a search to find her. The script by Jennifer Young and Brian Buccellato drops the readers directly into the environment with only the dialogue and the actions on the page to tell the characters’ pasts. The “everybody knows everybody” small town atmosphere lends itself to the pacing of the book by reducing expository introductions to characters and letting the relationships reveal themselves naturally. The flaw in this style though is that some readers may find themselves detached from the story, taking a step back to assess the characters rather than engage with them.
The dialogue by Young and Buccellato feels natural, and rarely dips into an affected speech pattern, only hinting at the accents of the characters. Cash’s dialogue in particular shines as his language grows increasingly course as the search for Jolene lengthens. One can almost hear him come off the page as his frustration builds with each delay.
Cash’s rampage through town also highlights one of the more interesting aspects about Willow and the setting of Cannibal. Though the majority of the southeastern United States has become infected, the relatively isolated town of Willow has remained secure, and it is interesting to see just how “normal” the town continues to run. It will be intriguing to see how this world further develops as the cannibals begin to break through the illusion of safety in the town.
Cannibal #2 owes much of its moody atmosphere to the art by Matias Bergara and the color work by Buccellato. The issue begins with as a woman named Louise and her nephew Boone stop at a gas station and from the opening panel, there’s a sense of tension. Much of this has to do with the way Bergara frames his panels. As seen above, he often depicts the characters from a distance while objects in the foreground cut off the sides of the panels, giving a claustrophobic feel to the pages. Combined with some dramatic blacks and shadows, Bergara’s artwork makes the world of Cannibal feel closed off and vulnerable.
Brian Buccellato’s colors work well with the setting and characters. Between the faded shirts and dark jeans, Buccellato gives the characters a very rugged feel. These are people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, something that becomes readily apparent when Cash visits an old flame of Jolene’s. Buccellato makes use of oranges, yellows, and pinks for the sky, which contrasts nicely with the brown of the wooden architecture and dirt roads while also giving a sense of oppressive heat that works well with the framing that Bergara does with the line art.
Is It Good?
Cannibal #2 is a good comic that never quite gets to being great. While the artwork by Matias Bergara and Brian Buccellato is atmospheric and helps to build tension, the script by Buccellato and Jennifer Young runs the risk of disengaging the reader from the characters for the sake of quick-pacing. As the mystery unfolds in future issues, the pacing and story choices made here may become clearer, but for now Cannibal #2 is an entertaining comic but not necessarily one to write home about.