Donny Fairchild is the lead character in a series about a man who has lost everything. Taking up the mantle of a renegade hero is the only way he can cope, but is it good?
Vigilante: Southland #2 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
Donny has lost everything-his girlfriend, his home, and nearly his life-but the men who did this to him have also woken him up. To put it all back together, Donny will need to tear apart the conspiracy that rocked his world. And for that, he’ll need help. Namely, the retired Los Angeles vigilante known as the Eastsider is going to teach Donny a thing or two about putting on a mask and kicking some butt.
Why does this book matter?
The first issue was a good introduction with rich character work and gritty art that suited the story. A street level hero who isn’t a rich billionaire, but is very very angry? Sounds intriguing eh?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Donny’s story progresses nicely in this issue and with his butt properly kicked at the end of the last issue he’s ready to improve. Gary Phillips does well to bring the reader into the story and develop a new mentor character right off the bat. Mike is wheelchair bound, but has a heroic past himself and Phillips gives his past a poetic vibe via short flashbacks. Later, we get a taste of how good he is in combat and it’ll be fun to see him work with Donny further in future issues.
Phillips also has Donny go on his first mission – of sorts – and it ends with mixed results. Artist Elena Casagrande draws this sequence quite well, making every punch and whip slash look incredibly painful. It’s a reminder Donny is not invulnerable and is really not good at kicking butt. The choreography in a test of Mike’s fight skills later in the issue are also easy to follow and impressive.
The colors by Giulia Brusco are quite nice, adding a pop of green, purple, or red to scenes giving them a different mood and atmosphere depending on their purpose. You can tell Brusco is delivering a different level of story via the colors.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m still waiting for the plot to kick into gear. Phillips is moving slowly towards the big training sequence and Donny’s getting better at being a rogue hero in this issue, but the bigger story is moving at a crawl. It has yet to really get going, and while Donny and his desire for justice makes him a tad more likeable than in the last issue, it’s becoming hard to really care about him or the plot. The fact is, Donny is in way over his head, he doesn’t have the skills or any powers to keep fighting, and at this point I don’t really care if he does.
This kid needs a lot of work.
Is It Good?
Vigilante: Southland #2 delivers on the hero’s journey complete with all the growing pains that go with it. Unfortunately it’s not developing the bigger picture well enough, nor the main character, to make you care all that much. Here’s hoping it pulls together in the next issue.