Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Clare Lenton, Luke Parker, Merrick, Nic J. Shaw, Tom Ward
Having already set-up a tale of revenge in issue #1 (reviewed here) this BPRD-style release from writer Tom Ward & artist Luke Parker has already impressed me so I was hoping that this second issue would build on that.
Opening with a flashback to Merrick’s parents before his birth we have a visit to a circus and a series of events that act as the catalyst for how Joseph Merrick may have become the Elephant Man and while he was born early in the midst of stage performers and wild animals he’s normal…..10 fingers, 10 toes and loving parents that are just glad that he’s survived the less than normal arrival into this world.
We then find out that Merrick has returned to England after being abandoned and although he has been ill since his arrival, Dr Treves is still looking out for him as he nurses him back to health. Although we quickly realize that while he’s helping Merrick seek out his revenge in a Liam Neeson/Taken like fashion……he’s also using Merrick to his own advantage to gain possession of a mysterious book that he’s desperately trying to get hold of. The book in question is in the hands of a local book store owner and he’s gettin ghis fair share of attention from a number of interested parties……but then it’s only Treves that has an Elephantman as the persuading factor in getting that book.
In among this tug of war over the book are more flashbacks that see Merrick’s parents struggle to cope with his condition….trying to seek answers from doctors and accept what their son has become……and it’s here again that the air of sadness about the character is present…..being used by Treves is bad enough but the reaction of his parents and being tagged a freak from an early age emphasizes the lonely feeling he must have faced as a character. This makes the title more absorbing as a title……as much because we know the struggles Merrick would face in today’s world as well as his own era so we’re somehow connected to him. Perhaps that feeling of being an outsider is something we’ve all felt at times so it’s something we can instantly relate to in some way.
It also helps justify his feelings for revenge and we’re with him on his cause…….while being firmly suspicious of Dr Treves and his real motives for focusing on Merrick in the way that he has. His ability to use Merrick for his own gains seem all the more sinister with this second issue and that’s despite his help to get him back to full health. It feels like part history lesson, part adventure & part mystery all rolled into one and that makes for very interesting reading as you’re sure it’s one thing and then you’re sure it’s another…..smart plotting from Tom Ward is to be thanked for that. War builds us a solid mix of characters and the use of flashbacks is timed well to make sure we’re on Merrick’s side and makes me wonder if that would ever come into question…..I think I’d always have been on his side. The art-work from Luke Parker again sticks true to that BPRD/Hellboy type feel created in the first issue but there feels like a fairly subtle step away from that with more varied colour being used that breathes even more life into the characters and situations being depicted.
All in all this is another indie title that piqued my interest from look alone but managed to intrigue me further as I turn page after page. Building on my own preconceived ideas about Merrick himself and the world he faced, making me think why I haven’t read more of this type title before. A great title that’s matching writing & art well to give us a new world to get lost in and make us count down until that next issue.
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment