The supernatural occurrences ramp up in the town of Blackcross. Is it good?
Project Superpowers: Blackcross #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Warren Ellis continues to use multiple storylines, but where it succeeded in the first book it falls flat in this one. The first book succeeded in creating immense terror and horror. It didn’t need to tell a story or build up the characters. The horror aspect carried it. However, this second issue is missing the horror. I’m not running downstairs to check that my door is locked, covering my mirrors, or applying bars to my window. It just isn’t there.
Instead, there are a couple moments that are pure shock factor that leave you more confused than before. It’s quite difficult to figure out what’s happening at all, let alone why it is happening. This does have the effect of creating a huge mystery except there doesn’t seem to be any clues.
The characters themselves are a mystery as well. The ones Ellis introduced in the previous issue are all present in this one, but since the issue is so compact and there are about six different storylines, he doesn’t have enough time to properly develop them and in some cases the events that unfold don’t give him the opportunity to do so. There is one bright spot showcasing the book’s creepy factor, however. It details some type of super-powered being and its brutal encounter with a U.S. Marshal. The being’s dialogue appears to contradict his violent actions, which amplify the level of creepiness. Talking about being safe after you rip a man out of the windshield of a car with just one hand can have that effect.
Colton Worley’s art during this sequence complements Ellis’ dialogue. The being has an almost tree-like, sinewy body that blends into the surrounding background. The positioning of the being’s hand and the grainy, grimy hand itself highlights the creepiness. He does overdo it with some of the shadows, though. On the opening page, the mail girl appears to have a black eye when it’s supposed to be the shadow of her baseball cap. It gets even worse and turns into a facemask. It is possible this is foreshadowing one of the supernatural beings, but at this point it just looks bad. The character designs of the supernatural beings are pretty cool. Each of them are unique whether it is a burning man, a giant figure wrapped in the American flag, or a scarlet cloaked female figure with burning red eyes.
Is It Good?
The disparate storylines, lack of character building, and an absence of horror are the downfall to this second issue. However, there is plenty of mystery to keep me holding out for the next issue. Worley’s character designs are intriguing and unique although his shadowing is a little overdone creating full on masks.