ENGINEWARD #2, available from Vault Comics on August 26th, peels back the layers on the colony’s history and confirms the gods are not as godly as they appear. Written by George Mann and drawn by Joe Eisma, the town’s tensions run high due to Jarvix’s death, mysterious disappearances of the townsfolk, and the escalating water shortage, ending in a game-changing cliffhanger.
Jen Hickman’s cover falls right in line with the art from the first issue (you can read our review here). Leo gives the reader a look of arrogance and malice with the slight lift of a single eyebrow. Per zodiac tradition, Leo’s love the spotlight, and this cover pulls off that conceited look in spades.
Mann’s story is definitely more focused and more forthcoming than the first issue. The ghoulem’s head starts blurting out bits of information like puzzle pieces falling into place. It’s not long before the past of the colony, and hope for its future becomes clear. Mann also lays out the corruption of the gods in a very subtle way that establishes the threat Joss and the others will soon face. This entire issue is a trail of satisfying breadcrumbs that sets up the next chapter brilliantly.
Eisma’s art casts the entire town in a pall of sand, dust, and dry heat. The extended drought put the whole town on edge, and you can feel the tension in every interaction. The townsfolk are irritable after Jarvix’s death, and the water shortage adds layers of tension on top of their grief. Every scene that Eisma draws captures impatient anger on the faces of the characters. You can practically feel their irritation and short temper with every panel. That’s great acting through art by Eisma.
Michael Garland’s coloring gets high marks for the excellent use of shading for different light sources. The lamplight used in Jarvix’s “funeral” cast a warm glow on the characters in a very natural way. Leo’s stage appearance is bright and theatrical, consistent with her personality. And the dinginess of Joss’s workshop is appropriately shadowed to reflect her mood.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering work is the highlight of the issue for one particular design choice. Leo’s speech is portrayed through the use of flourishing script over parchment paper as a word balloon. It’s unique. It amplifies Leo’s position as a self-proclaimed god, and it’s striking on the page. Brilliant creative choice by Otsmane-Elhaou.
ENGINEWARD #2, available from Vault Comics on August 26th, satisfies your story curiosity with well-placed breadcrumbs, and the team’s artwork is solid on all fronts. The revealed quest promises an exciting next issue.