Orphan Age #2 from Aftershock comics comes out today and Ted Anderson and Nuno Plati have created yet another masterful installment in this groundbreaking post-apocalyptic Western fantasy.
This issue begins with our heroes waking up from a night’s rest in their camp, confident that they have lost the New Church and are safe for the time being. Supplies are low, and it is a long journey to Albany, so Willa mentions an outpost not far from them where they can buy some supplies as well as a gun for Princess. When they arrive at the mall they are greeted by a guard and a young boy named Billy. The guard tells Billy to go get his Daddy and a few moments later the boy returns with a big bear of a man who warmly introduces himself as Kent, the leader of the outpost. Kent welcomes Daniel and the others to shop for whatever they need at the mall. Daniel instructs Princess to join Willa at the gun shop to pick out a firearm for herself. The young girl enters the shop when suddenly Willa grabs a young man and throws him up against the wall holding him at knifepoint. Princess takes the man’s glove off revealing the letter T branded on the top of his hand, marking him a thief. Kent enters the shop drawing his gun on Willa and Princess and orders the guards find Daniel and take him out quietly. As the guards are disarming Willa, Daniel appears in the doorway of the shop holding Billy at gunpoint ordering Kent and his guards to drop their weapons or he will shoot the young boy in the head. Kent tells his guards to drop their weapons as Daniel and the girls make their way to the horses and safely leaving town with the supplies that they paid for and dropping off young Billy once they are a safe distance away from the mall. The issue ends with Princess asking Daniel if he would have really killed Billy to save her and Willa, to which Daniel answers “If I had to.”
Once again Ted Anderson does a brilliant job with the writing on this issue. The feeling that they have eluded the New Church and can finally take a moment to rest and regroup is short-lived as all is not as it seems with danger lurking around every corner of this hostile world. Anderson does a wonderful job of lulling the characters and the reader into a false sense of safety and security in the form of the seemingly friendly and welcoming Kent and his young son. There’s a wonderful moment when Princess is walking around the mall with Billy and Kent and he explains to her the three different types of children that were around after the grown-ups all died, what they sought out, and how it affected their survival. This wonderful piece of social observation and commentary not only serves as a lesson to Princess but is also a dark foreshadowing of the treachery that is soon to follow. As with the previous installment, Anderson concludes the issue with a brilliant excerpt of poetry that echoes the lessons Princess has learned from the experience within its pages. This time it is a piece from Robert Hass’ epic work “Songs to Survive the Summer.”
The artwork and images in this issue are beautiful. Nuno Plati does a masterful job of conveying intensity and emotion through the way that he draws the character’s eyes in particular. He has a real knack for saying a lot without even using words that way. The settings and environments in this issue are beautifully detailed and immersive and the action sequences are laid out in such a way that accentuates the drama and intensity of the situation. Joao Lemos’ use of warm earthy tones and colors add an element of gritty realism that compliments the images wonderfully.
Orphan Age #2 is another amazing issue is this new series from Aftershock. The story and characters are written with such depth and dimension and the tone and stylization of the artwork is flawless. I highly recommend this title to any reader who is looking for a comic that is compelling, with relatable characters,and a story unlike anything else out on comic book store shelves today.