by Ben Templesmith
Ben Templsmith brings Squidder readers the second chapter of the series this month and the issue continues the story of the rogue soldier in a very strange post-apocalyptic world. The first issue was certainly interesting and, in many ways, unique, but it focused more on diving into a tale than it did on its world-building. Much was left unmentioned. In the second chapter, Templesmith does a better job in balancing the two, and as a result the chapter is even stronger.
In the first issue, readers had learned a bit about the state of the world, these new creatures and the effect they have had on factions of the human race. The lead, a squidder, seems to have fancied himself a mercenary in this new world order and in the final pages he takes a gig tracking a priestess for a man. In issue two, there is some time spent clarifying what it means for an individual to control or have some ownership over a priestess. Interspersed through this issue, Templesmith finds ways to clue readers in to a few important aspects to what has occurred. In many ways, a majority of this issue is exposition. However, Templesmith manages to cut the information up and deliver it in a few different methods. Even more importantly, he shifts between these methods, never staying on a narration or character monologue too long. As a result, it is never quite apparent just how much the reader is being told as it occurs.
As with the first issue, and much of his work, Templesmith brings a very beautifully terrifying visual aesthetic to the page. There are moments, both pale and glowing orange that are absolutely gorgeous. And yet, amidst his recognizable color palette comes a range of images that push those colors into areas of the very pretty to the impeccably horrific. As the issue progresses, readers meet some new characters including a queen and one referred to as Dark Father. The interaction alone is unsettling as the male character reflects on the malleable nature of the human form as he repurposes a still-functioning human head. The character looks something like Anton Arcane as he was drawn for Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing run for DC Comics.
Templesmith does a great job in this issue finding different ways to not just build out the world’s history, but use that information to push the story forward. An unlikely pairing surfaces and within panels of meeting this new character, there is a personality and a sense of possibility that improves the series and the pacing. There is a growing mystery and a sense of excitement comes along with it. While the opening chapter showed real promise, Templesmith goes even further in issue two and as a result, Squidder looks like it is going to be a real treat.