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'The Cull' #2 review
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Comic Books

‘The Cull’ #2 is richly imaginative and deeply human

‘The Cull’ #2 opens up its big and beautiful fantasy world.

When Kelly Thompson talked about The Cull on the AIPT Comics podcast, you could tell she was truly excited about this creator-owned project. Her characterization of a group of teenagers hellbent on making one last short film before college was already interesting enough, but then the last page of The Cull #1 upped the ante and begged readers to come back for more. And they can with The Cull #2 out this week, pressing forward each character’s internal dilemmas made manifest in their actions while they try to make sense of the extraordinary thing they found.

SPOILERS AHEAD for The Cull #2!

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The last page of The Cull promises something truly amazing to be explored in issue #2, and it does not disappoint. Even though this is a five-issue series, I’m excited by the good character work and plot progression. This series is clearly not decompressing things to stretch out one good idea. Instead, it has many.

Mattia De Iulis positively shatters expectations when it comes to the rendering of this fantasy world. His hyper-detailed and realistic visual style suits the colorful and strange landscape. It doesn’t look like it was pulled from any fantasy we’ve ever seen. There’s a sense of mystery and danger at all times, in part because the characters are understandably scared, but also in a slightly ominous nature Iulis brings. The ocean may be pink, but why is it so shallow? The sharp islands protruding from it certainly don’t look friendly.

There’s also some fun creature design to soak in. I could see Skybound mass-producing the blue alien-red panda creature in plushy form. When the kids enter the jungle, a nice mix of familiar green leaves eases the fear, but the pink fairies and strange red plants raise your nerves. The atmosphere is always on point, which you get via well-placed shadows and a purple haze hanging over two teens. I’d recommend lingering a bit on each panel as there are details you don’t take in skimming.

'The Cull' #2 review

This is a tight-knit group, but even I’d probably not risk exploring a weird world!
Credit: Image

Sci-fi nerds will also respect Thompson’s explanation of where these teenagers are. Thompson is good at capturing natural dialogue that’s genuine and relatable throughout this issue. Cleo explains and talks openly about the land, logically picking out whether they stepped through a portal, went to another planet, or another universe. All conceivable, and considering many similar-looking islands, the possibility of expanding this universe is huge.

This isn’t just an issue of discovery of the fantasy land but also a discovery between these characters. Some of their actions are so bold you’ll wonder if it’s the world itself that’s making them strip off their clothes, or maybe they’re just teenagers scared and making bad choices. Thompson and Iulis are doing a fantastic job pulling you into their experiences.

While lovemaking and smooching commence, there’s still danger afoot. A well-timed point-of-view shot from the camera suggests someone or something is watching them. Don’t forget the giant beasts that opened the series, either.

The Cull #2 is a great second issue, opening up the fantastical world while further developing the characters. This series is quickly becoming my favorite fantasy series of 2023. The Cull is richly imaginative and deeply human.

'The Cull' #2 review
‘The Cull’ #2 is richly imaginative and deeply human
The Cull #2
The Cull #2 is a great second issue, opening up the fantastical world while further developing the characters. This series is quickly becoming my favorite fantasy series of 2023. The Cull is richly imaginative and deeply human.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Great introduction to this amazing and slightly terrifying fantasy land
Continues to flesh out these characters super well
The art is trippingly gorgeous
The opening feels a little slow to get things going, even if it's giving proper explanation why they all go into the world
9.5
Great
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