The first issue of Clankillers from Aftershock Comics was an action-packed ride that introduced interesting characters while weaving an engaging tale. The book was unafraid to laugh at itself while also dealing with issues like sanity and parenthood. The second issue does many of the same things that worked so well, but unfortunately, the end result is less effective.
Clankillers #2 moves at the same lightning quick pace. This time, however, the tempo works to the comic’s detriment. There is no character development (with one notable exception). Part of the charm of Clankillers’ debut was due to King Padraig’s daughter, Finola. Her decision to kill her father and the other clans of Ireland can be seen as simultaneously noble and childish. Ironically, many of her choices seem thought out.
This same complexity is not seen in this issue. Finola simply seems like a vengeful child. Yes, her father lives up to his grotesque title, and it can easily be defended that his youngest daughter should take drastic steps against him, however the issue never gives Finola’s decision the same thoughtfulness. This is partially due to writer Sean Lewis not allowing the reader a glimpse into Finola’s thoughts. In the space of one issue, Finola goes from essentially wanting to save her father to simply wanting to kill him.
The writing also does not give the same weight to Finola’s reasoning. In the previous issue, it was clear that the young princess was not merely out to commit cold blooded murder; it was just as important for her to save her father. Clankillers #2 seems content to make Finola’s quest one for vengeance.
The fast pace also leads to bland action sequences. The chaotic nature of the first issue has been replaced with quick scenes that end anticlimactically. This is first seen when Finola and her best friend Cillian escape from her father in a moment that happened so quickly I did not know what was happening. Later, the two children easily defeat an undead monster. Quite simply, the battles lack any gravity.
Padraig continues to be well written, though. It was clear when the king was introduced that he was insane, yet he was also somehow sympathetic. The second issue of Clankillers shows the heartless side of Padraig. From the very beginning when he speaks ill of his youngest daughter to the shocking conclusion, his vicious side is on full display. This culminates in a horrible scene midway through the issue after one of his older daughters angers him. The depths of his madness are clearly defined in the issue.
More insight is also given into Finola’s sisters, Reagan and Una. In the first issue, it seemed that they were little more than subservient daughters who existed to please their father. It becomes evident that the sisters have more substance to them and it is even hinted that long to be somewhere else. This makes Finola’s decision more interesting and begs the question as to whether she came up with her clan killing plan alone.
Clankillers #2 stumbles but is an overall good story. The dark humor of the first issue is seen again and it will be interesting to see where Finola’s adventure taker her next.