Black Mask Studios Gravetrancers #2, by M.L. Miller, James Michael Whynot, and Dee Cunniff escalates the tension, plot and disturbing imagery in another excellent issue.
Written by: M.L. Miller
Art by: James Michael Whynot
Colors by: Dee Cunniff
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
Published by: Black Mask Studios
Maribel and Anthony are siblings on a road trip to visit the grave of their father. And although both brother and sister have strong and mixed feelings when it comes to the man, both feel that maybe some sort of closure will come with the visit. But something far more sinister, frightening and disturbing awaits them at Burwood Cemetery. Maribel and Anthony are about to find out the proprietors of the cemetery, the Malrot family, harbor a different notion of life and death, one that will enter their lives like a hallucinatory nightmare that may never let go. And things get even more complicated as police Officer Veloz gets drawn into the horror.
The first issue of Gravetrancers was an excellent example of setting up a concept. But it is with this second chapter that writer M.L. Miller really unleashes heavily on the narrative drive and plot. The pacing here is fantastic. The three main characters are all separated, and the tension is built wonderfully as each character begins to face horrors of their own. This structure also allows the reader to be exposed to the different sorts of terrors that lurk within Burwood Cemetary, and how each family operates. The mythology is also further developed as is the history and past of the characters. And like all good mysteries, we get even more questions as we get answers. By the end of the issue, we are left with a hell of a cliffhanger and definitely wanting more.
The art of James Michael Whynot, Dee Cuniff, and Jim Campbell is once again great. The team gets a chance to really create some nightmarish images here, as the hallucinatory aspect of the story takes center stage. The gore level is also raised. But the way the linework and colors work together give the pages a vibe that not just ‘gross-out’ The texture and feel of the pages here really reinforce that ‘EC Comics’ vibe promised in the first issue. There are also hints of psychedelic and underground art(think along the lines of work of Charles Burns). Some stand out images (included above) are characters drinking juice through their nose, a Re-Animator/Wolverine fusion/homage that is just plain fucking cool, and the design of Prim (seen below).
Seriously, dig up this book any way you can. It’s raw, gory, fun and infused with an attitude that makes it incredibly unique. Another great addition to Black Mask Studios excellent growing library.