by Curt Pires, David Rubin and Michael Garland
The Fiction is a new series by Curt Pires and David Rubin that looks to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. In the second issue of the tale, the two leads are faced with the task of returning to a world they have tried to forget in an attempt to save their friend. It is possible, and seemingly probably, that there is much more at stake here. After an issue spent setting these characters up for their return, the second issue dives right in.
How the world is presented is quite interesting, as is the construction of the story. Before rejoining the leads, readers are given a quick panel that is seemingly unconnected. Pires has an interesting way of organizing his stories, and readers willing to accept the challenge are rewarded with a very enriched reading experience. Here, David Rubin and Michael Garland portray Max and Kassie falling back into this bizarre world while some narration boxes look to feature a conversation that has no source. The visual images of the sequence are gorgeous and strange. The entire sequence may lead some readers to going back over the panels, following the art and the narration separately. Pires, like many writers, uses the space to feature a separate conversation that adds a tone or mood to the events being witnessed. It’s a clever technique that is effective here.
The issue manages to cover a lot of ground, despite its odd arrangement. While Kassie and Max trek through this land, readers are made privy to conversation that were had when the leads were kids, dealing with the disappearance of their friend and other major events of their childhood. Pires still shrouds much of the history of these individuals, only offering a few new pieces, or a twist on an old one. The pacing that the book utilizes to build up the universe works well, finding a middle ground between overwhelming and underdeveloped.
What is clear is that something sinister is at work. Rubin and Garland make excellent choices throughout the issue. As the principle foundations of this strange world are unknown to the reader, visuals make up the majority of the information presented. The landscape of the universe is beautiful, abstract and colorful, with enough foundation to follow the plot and yet still manage to feel wholly new and wondrous. At one point in the story the children make a decision to protect this world no matter the cost and that places the artists in a challenging position. They must convey a world that would evoke such a response from children as to risk so much to protect it. Rubin and Garland do just that.
The biggest downside to The Fiction #2 is that the issue ends. Just as the story turns a corner, unveiling a few pieces of immensely intriguing information consecutively, the second chapter comes to an end. The creative team has done a fantastic job over the first two issues to set up a universe and a conflict that manage to be enthralling and rather original. It will be exciting to see what lies ahead.