by Chris Miskiewicz & Palle Schmidt
Thomas Alsop is the Hand of the Island, a power he never asked for and seemingly is not a good fit for considering what it entails. Alsop is sarcastic, lazy, and a bit of a frustrating individual. In ways he is reminiscent of DC’s Constantine. Alsop is more concerned with fame and playing it fast and loose than taking his destiny as the protector of Manhattan Island seriously. In the second issue, the story elaborates a bit more on him as a character, the history of this power and the story aboard the ship in the early 1700s. Issue two falls very close to issue one in its pacing and art, while giving readers just a bit more.
Though readers were informed about how Alsop turned his power into fame through the use of a web-series after his friend posted a video to the internet, here readers get a chance to see the show in action. As the book opens, the panels take readers through what feels very much like the standard ghost-hunter type of show one may expect Alsop’s series to be. He comes across an old home, the site where a witch has taken and murdered hundreds of individuals in the past. Alsop dispatches of her but things don’t go quite as planned, setting up the remainder of the issue and what looks to come. As a result, readers learn a bit more about this mystical power. It would seem that things are a bit bigger than just the Alsop family. After a meeting with his family, readers learn that there are actually five families involved and his care-free approach has put the Alsops in a bad place.
The issue also expands on the mysterious events that surround the family’s past. A bit of time is spent in the town from where the lineage of the power traces back through the Alsop family as well as the story following a ship’s voyage. Each are touched on but not a whole lot more is put forward. There are a lot of great ideas at play in this new series, and writer Chris Miskiewicz is planting some intriguing seeds early on. There is certainly a mythology at play that looks to be built bigger each week. While the series boasts some great ideas, at times the panels feel weighed down by text. There are a few sequences that spend a little too much time explaining or offering a substantial amount of dialogue. On the whole, the concepts at play are worth the read, but this does hurt the experience.
Palle Schmidt’s art is quite beautiful to look at. Whether it be moments depicting Alsop’s journey to the family home, or flashback sequences, the line work and coloring combine to create something quite majestic. If the creative team can find a way to spend a bit more time allowing the art to breathe, the reading experience of this title will certainly improve. As of now, this young series has much to offer and should be on people’s radars. Hopefully as it moves forward, Miskiewicz and Schmidt strike a balance that allows for a slightly smoother pace.
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