Sonata #2 follows a stellar debut with a not as sensational second entry. All of the items fans adored with the first issue, stellar world-building, interesting characters, and cool technology and monsters are still present. But writers David Hine and Brian Haberlin’s story can be a bit overwhelming with fictional lingo or borderline cliché tropes. Haberlin’s lines are still impressively detailed and depicted, and Geirrod Van Dyke’s colors mesh well with the worn-in aesthetic of the setting, but there is something off-putting that will push away some readers. But these are mainly minor personal gripes, and readers who fell in love with the first issue will find more of the same in Sonata #2.
Sonata #2 revolves around Pau finding Sonata and Treen in the Lumani’s forbidden area, and how Pau and Sonata’s tribes react to finding they are missing. There are certain tropes here that Haberlin and Hine are playing into in this chapter that will go over differently with certain readers.
It certainly feels that they are using a “Romeo & Juliet” vibe between Pau and Sonata, especially as Pau directly thinks that she is ‘Definitely’ into him, and of course the “uneasy pact between warring factions that will most certainly end in betrayal” theme between the Rans, Tayans, and Lumani.
All of this is made bearable by the fact that Sonata, Pau, and Treen are interesting and fully developed characters. Sonata is rebellious, independent, and brave while Treen is staunchly neutral and sticks with the tenets and beliefs of his tribe. Pau serves as a source of playful chaos in the group dynamic with his cocksure attitude and heavy reliance on technology.
Unfortunately, their tribes do not get the same treatment and are shaded in a more black and white manner, with minimal differences and no subtlety. The Rans are peaceful, The Tayans are warriors that rely on tech, and the Lumani are the indigenous people. That’s pretty much all the differences. Hopefully Haberlin and Hine give the same amount of attention and nuance to the tribes as they do their three main characters in later issues; otherwise, this series could grow a bit stale.
Haberlin’s linework is incredibly detailed and impressive. His style veers more towards photo-realism, but there is something not quite right about it. Perhaps it is Van Dyke’s colors because when it comes to people the figures look almost superimposed onto the background like a bad PS3 cut scene. This is a style that is seen in other books, and it is most certainly not bad, but it can be off-putting to some audiences.
That being said, the monster and overall character designs are top-notch. The chimera-bird-creature that attacked Sonata and the god that awoke at the end of the issue is truly breathtaking.
Sonata #2 is a solid entry into the series. While not as effective as the debut Brian Haberlin and David Hine’s story is still effective as is Haberlin and Geirrod Van Dyke’s art and Frances Takenaga’s letters. Sonata remains a book to watch out for sci-fi fantasy fans.