Kaydon Klay struggles to ease the tensions between fame and family in Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #2. Is it good?
Plot-wise, almost all of this issue focuses on Kaydon, and that’s a good thing. As a new protagonist with a strong predecessor, it’s important for Kaydon to receive time to shine and drive the story’s momentum forward. Writer Jim Zub does a great job fleshing the character out and keeping her voice consistent and likable while providing clear motivation for her potentially questionable choices. When Kaydon defies her mother’s wishes, it’s more than just generic teenage rebellion. With that said, Kaydon’s mother is also very well-written here, and various bit players receive a nice amount of personality even when their page-time is limited.
Perhaps the most enjoyable scene of the issue is the reunion between Kaydon and Marty, whose relationship was pivotal to the series’ first volume and will hopefully receive at least a little more page-time before this latest volume concludes. Another praise-worthy moment is when Kaydon looks through the various messages strangers and acquaintances have sent her. They depict social media hate messages in many of their forms, from the sexually threatening to the religiously pompous to the exploitatively selfish. The messages all overlap one another in a single panel that conveys more about the main character’s troubles than some comics do in full issues.
Art-wise, Djibril Morissette-Phan delivers solid work throughout this issue. Characters are rendered consistently and effectively, with facial expressions that often say as much or more than their accompanying dialogue. The visuals also do a nice job of handling the plot’s horror elements, as threatening figures come into view suddenly in ways that mirror the more film/game-esque concept of jump scares. The page compositions throughout are varied and small details effectively sell scenes’ moods and a sense of incoming danger. Colorist K. Michael Russell’s work stands out as well. His renderings of light and shadow add a sense of realistic depth to the images, and his frequently shifting color palette helps prevent things from feeling too one-note. The skylines throughout are particularly pleasing to look at.
So what doesn’t work here? The art sometimes feels a bit stilted, and some panels contain noticeably less fine detail than others. Plot-wise, one of Farrah’s accomplices from her attack at the end of volume one is back, and it’s kind of hard to care. Back in volume one, the character felt like a throwaway, just one of many amongst the various people Farrah (or more accurately, the murderous creature controlling her) infected and used to further its plans. Now, the former accomplice is acting in major ways on their own, driven solely by the monster inside her. Without having gotten to know the character pre-infection, there’s little reason to care about their struggles, and they’ve mostly become a host for a mysterious antagonist that might work better the less they actually talk.
Overall, Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #2 is a good issue. Kaydon and her mother receive much needed spotlight, the artwork is solid, and there’s a real feeling that something is actually at stake. Unfortunately, the momentum is hindered a bit by an antagonist who’s gotten less interesting now that they speak more directly through a host body. It’s also worth noting that the volume is now half over and there are a lot of plot threads that could use addressing, but not many issues left to address them. Nonetheless, the creative team has delivered solid work yet again, and the series continues to be worth checking out.