When DC announced its plans for a Snagglepuss reboot, I got very excited. Then the first issue came out and exceeded my already high expectations; I gave it a 10/10 rating. With that said, it’s one thing to start a story off well, but it’s another to keep that momentum going. Is Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2 good?
A large part of what made the series’ debut issue delightful was Mark Russell’s writing. Thankfully, he keeps up the good work this time around. Snagglepuss’s witty dialogue continues to amuse, as does the supporting cast. Gigi Allen makes an excellent villain; her over-the-top contempt for people she considers “deviants” perfectly mirrors the hatred of her real-life equivalents while still fitting within the series’ grandiose tone. Exit Stage Left continues to skillfully merge the realistic and the absurd–a natural thing to do when the real life events it draws inspiration from were absurd themselves.
This issue is also solid visually. Mike Feehan (pencils) and Mark Morales (inks) do a great job rendering characters’ facial expressions and body language, successfully elevating the physical comedy of the issue. Colorist Paul Mounts also delivers good work with bright colors that call the original cartoons to mind. My favorite panel of the issue is one depicting a movie theater audience getting blasted by a nuclear bomb, reducing them to skeletons. These sorts of unexpected gags help prevent the issue from feeling too predictable, even as the plot moves along more or less as expected.
As good as this issue is, I still have some qualms with it. The writing is strong in terms of entertaining and being witty, but I’m not sure that the plot progresses enough. This issue’s ending isn’t all that different from last issue’s, and I don’t think we learned much more about any of the characters. There are also some pages where the composition choices don’t feel as effective as they could, and where the line-art’s sense of motion feels stilted. The worst part of the issue, though, doesn’t have anything to do with Snagglepuss at all. There’s a short featured at the back of the issue entitled “Sasquatch Detective” and it just isn’t good. Both the writing and the art for it are bland, and it bears no narrative or tonal similarity to the main story. It just feels completely out of place, and it’s hard to tell what the intended effect even was.
Overall, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2 is another good issue. There’s a lot of charming humor, and most of the art continues to be impressive. With that said, the pacing feels too slow and there are some issues with the conveyance of physical motion. Much worse than these problems, however, is the back-up comic that doesn’t match the main story in terms of tone, story, or quality. This is still a good issue and well-worth one’s time; it’s just not quite as good as the series’ debut.