Witchblood #2 adds some interesting wrinkles to the vampires and how their powers work, which I was very into. They seem to be just one step outside of reality, thanks to the way they’re rendered by Lisa Sterle and Gab Contreras. From the moment the reader sees this pose of bloodsuckers streaking through the city on their bikes, leaving what almost appears to be a trail of starlight behind them, we know that everyone should endeavor to stay out of their way.
The confrontation in the bar that takes up a good chunk of this issue’s first half is as compelling as it is bloody. Paxton’s speech is entertaining and terrifying, poking fun at the impermanence of all human beings. Meanwhile, his cohorts paint the town red in a series of eerie panels, including a shot of a victim raining blood as they are pinned to the ceiling. Contreras doesn’t hold back with the red stuff, applying it liberally to the page. And yet, the real star of the show continues to be Paxton, rendered in bright colors and drawn by Sterle with literal stars in his eyes. It’s a hell of a sequence, and one that has stayed with me since I finished reading the issue.
This scene also brought back something that I adored in the first issue: music cues that are built into the text. Matthew Erman isn’t kidding when he says to put on Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee,” and you won’t regret the extra moment taken to do so while this sequence plays out. It makes for a surreal read, and the vampires end up feeling even more separate from reality than before.
Yonna’s recuperation and reluctance to get involved with the vampire gang is interesting, as well. There’s still so much we don’t know about her and why she has become the nomad she is in the present day. Even so, she’s an endlessly charming character, her attempts at gallows humor winning over even the most skeptical characters.
Much like the first issue, this installment does a great job at establishing a unique tone for the series. It’s weird, exciting, action-packed, and poetic. However, there are still a good number of things that are unclear about how this world works. While I enjoy the ambiguity of mankind’s relationship with witches, vampires, and other spooky elements, the hierarchy of this world and some of its rules are still very unclear to me.
Still, that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story, which manages to strike a balance between an adventure book and a punk rock song in illustrated form. Witchblood still has plenty of mysteries to explore, and I’m more than happy to hitch a ride with Yonna and Bhu while they search for answers.
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