Sophomore slumps happen. Maintaining consistency and steam is tough. After such a great #1 issue, I was fully expecting Extremity to dip, at least a little bit. Luckily, Daniel Warren Johnson totally kills issue #2, and has got me super excited to see where this story goes. I’ll warn you upfront that this review is a bit vague, but that is because this story is just too good to spoil.
Extremity #2 (Image Comics)
Extremity #2 opens with a flashback, one that fills in the story and might even change how you see some of the characters. From there, the story moves to a dangerous new part of the world called the Ancient Dark. Leah’s clan, the Roto, are there scavenging for ship parts and come across a few surprises. An excellent cliffhanger sets the Roto up for more trouble in the very near future.
In my opinion, this is a perfect second issue. It provides a morsel of background, expands the world, introduces a few new compelling characters, fleshes out some previously introduced, and sets the hook for an explosive confrontation next issue. It is really, really impressive how deftly Johnson manages to keep all these elements thoroughly interesting. At the same time, though, the story feels very small and personal. For example, Leah, the star of the last issue, is barely in this one. Instead, this installment focuses more on Leah’s brother Rollo. It’s a bold move subverting the expectation that Leah is the story’s sole star, but man does it pay off. Johnson takes the opportunity to add depth to the sensitive, smart Rollo without being too heavy handed.
In the art department, Johnson keeps his game strong. The brutal, Mad Max-esque art continues to be top-notch. The colors really stood out this issue. The whole book is very colorful, but most of it is a bit muted or washed out. It makes the world feel used and worn in. In the Ancient Dark, the palette shifts darker and grayer, fitting for the mysterious lands. When the action picks up and the Roto encounter one of the area’s surprises, the color palette dramatically shifts to bright, bold warm colors. The contrast makes the action feel more lively and stand out. It’s a really cool pop of color. In such an excellent book it’s hard to pick a stand out scene, but the encounter in the Ancient Dark is probably it, especially the two page spread finishing that scene. The impact and physicality of that panel is just so excellent. Finally, Johnson continues to make awesome use of sound effects. Just like in the first issue, it’s impossible to NOT hear the effects.
I try not to write gushy reviews. I try to find something not quite great to balance out the good. This time, screw it. Extremity #2 is probably one of the best second issues of a comic book I’ve read. It doesn’t feel like a lull or a pause because Johnson makes everything that happens intimate, interesting, and most importantly, seem important. At no point did I want him to cut to the chase. Do yourself a favor and check this book out, because Daniel Warren Johnson is doing some incredible work.
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