R.I.P.D #2 Review
By Zak Edwards
December 23, 2012 - 11:18
Publisher(s): Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Jeremy Barlow & Peter Lenkov
Penciller(s): Tony Parker
Colourist(s): Michelle Madsen
Letterer(s): Richard Starkings
Cover Artist(s): Dave Wilkins
Last issue, I praised R.I.P.D for its careful and seamless blending of genre in ways that played to the strength of the story and the strength of the artist. Here, as the story takes a bit of a hold, a formula is developing and the particular genre picked, comes across a bit tired. The mish-mash (emphasis on the latter) does work, but here I’m not convinced.
The story revolves around coming to a town that’s too good to be true and turns out that this is exactly the case. Cue tentacle demon thing/cliffhanger and wait for next issue. The story doesn’t so much progress as wait for between tentacles, which is a lot less stimulating than it sounds. While there are a couple of great gags, particularly the praying sequence (which is visually well-paced and put together) and our protagonist’s quip about his appearance, but the in-between isn’t exactly amazing. I’m all for genre fiction and all for genre fiction that tries to do it right over different, but here the book seems to stall. If we could but entertaining and boring on a binary for a second, this book sways between them and I found myself skipping ahead as I read, eager to figure out when it was over. Perhaps the stall is part of the build up or, even better, the book is taking on tropes overall and episodically (which is way cooler), I’m not sure. What I do know is the book works and doesn’t all at once. I find myself not caring particularly for the two main characters in a similar fashion that they seem to have about one another, the issue takes the buddy out of buddy comedy (and comedy for parts as well) in unproductive ways here. But the arc will play towards a better place, we know this thanks to the flashback last episode in a more future-y place. The entire issue can be summed up as such: With a willingness to take on new talent comes the joy for the reader of watching a creator come into their own. And while Barlow is an established editor, his writing credits are mostly very recent. Those first stories in Sandman are not exactly great, if we’re being totally honest, but that series is also about watching a writer grow, into Neil Gaiman of all people. Here, even with an obscure but established property, we can watch someone with a real eye and ear for genre work out how to approach it. It worked wonders last issue, here less so, but the series is well worth it.
And artistically, the book remains great. Tony Parker’s style, just enough cartoon and just enough detail, can and does take on everything. The style isn’t cartoonish, per se, but characters drawn in his style look like live action versions of cartoon characters without looking too silly. Michelle Madsen’s colours only add to the experience, moving from mood to mood in ways that make sense and are almost rendered invisible (in the best way possible).
Grade: 6/10 While hiccuping here, this will be a highly entertaining ride.
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