“The Offering” continues in this second chapter, pitting the remainder of the witless teenagers against Andre Toulon’s killer puppets. While the first issue focused more on the kills by the puppets (a good choice for a first issue), this installment spends more time with the generic teens we’re destined to not care about.
Puppet Master #2 (Action Lab Entertainment)
The majority of this issue follows the last four teens as they come across one of their dead colleagues and try to figure out what to do. It’s long-winded stuff that pays off in predictable cliches, unfortunately. The first 6 pages (out of 22) are spent in a discussion between the characters as they debate whether they should go for the cops or split up and search for their missing friends (who we, the audience, know are dead). They inevitably settle on “split up and search the massive hotel for them”.
To the credit of the narrative, this is a necessary evil for any sort of slasher movie. If the characters left to go get the cops then the comic would be over and we’d have no story. I understand the need for this, really, I do, and I don’t hold it against horror movies (or comics) for taking us down this well-worn path. The problem is that it’s a foregone conclusion that takes the characters 6 pages to come to. In a 22 page comic, that is a LOT of real estate. And when it’s all to get the characters to the point the reader knows they need to reach, why draw it out?
Another 8 pages are then spent watching the characters creep around the hotel, conversing with each other. This doesn’t really endear any of them to us and doesn’t break them out of their horror movie archetypes, either (when knew the jerk guy was a jerk within the first few pages and we knew the tough girl was tough in the same span of time; these pages just reiterate the templates). It’s suspense-building stuff, but it pushes this comic past the halfway point and I found myself getting kind of bored.
I’m actually on the other end of the fence from my reaction to the first issue. Issue #1 was almost entirely a massacre from start to finish. This issue was slow plodding as the characters try to catch up with what the readers know. The pacing is just off for a story broken up into monthly installments. Maybe this comic will read better all at once; in fact, I’m sure it will. But at the current monthly schedule, it’s very stop-go.
Now, all that being said, there are some strong moments in the issue for Puppet Master fans. Torch, my personal fave, gets even more action in this issue and I’m starting to think maybe Gabborin (the author) is a fan of him, too. There’s an alright cliffhanger reveal at the end, too, but sort of a Scooby-Doo revelation (“Oh, whaddaya know, it was the only other guy to appear in the episode all along”).
I will say I’m looking forward to the last issue. It’s bound to be the “How I did it” issue, but I’m more interested in the “Why I did it.” Like I said in my first review, there still isn’t a story going on yet, it’s just teens getting killed by puppets without a real narrative. Saving that for the end, I guess.
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