By Matt Kindt and David Rubin
As compared to the first issue, Ether #2 goes from interesting to fascinating, from fun to downright convivial and has quickly become a thoroughly engrossing series! This comic wants to have a relationship with the reader, wants to get along well with the reader, and wants every one of us to be fans of the material and the creators alike. There’s a vibe to this comic book that creates an immediate loyalty based on content and creativity with a genuinely exciting story instead of building a false sense of anticipation, or dangling a carrot so to speak…the comic itself is the reward and it’s right there for the taking.
Folks out there who are tuned in enough to pop culture hear stories and myths about breaking into various industries as a professional. With proper books, for instance, publishers sometimes say, that after your first novel sees the light of day you can basically do anything you want. With movies or TV, writing feels more success-based and, after you’ve paid your dues and proved you’re willing to compromise your vision, one can achieve a level of notoriety. But, since those latter mediums’ successes are generally measured by box office attendance or ratings, there is potential to lose status and find your self essentially starting over. When it comes to comic books, we all know who writes the comic, we all know who draws it, who colors it and (whether it’s called out in a review or not) who letters it. Thanks to publishers’ due diligence, we know the creators involved and it makes a difference as a marketing tool for a medium with a relatively fast-paced creative process. Where as creators of any given industry, unsung or otherwise, may be the reason why something is initially successful, it is crucial for the average comic book reader to know who’s doing which role in order for that reader to become a genuine fan ongoing. Once a true admirer of any one of the authors or artists in the comics business, fans will gravitate to books naturally and without knowing much else about them. Pair up two creators that fans may not have imagined working together collaboratively and you’ve got what could be described as a solid bet.
That is exactly how readers and fans alike should approach Ether by Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and David Rubin (The Hero). Issue #2 is at least as spectacular as the first was and does more to separate itself from all of the genres it taps into in order to become something more exclusive, more singular in it’s approach. Kindt continues to write the story to unanticipated levels of originality, keeping us intrigued and informed at the same time.
We learn more about the mystery at hand — the murder of the legendary Ether hero known as The Blaze — but there’s also insight into Boone Dias’ past, how he discovered the Ether and how travel to and from works. Is there a scientific explanation for everything on Earth? Maybe, but how about in the Ether? Do clues lead to solutions, and is the outcome of a murder mystery fair justice, as it would supposedly be in the real world? Is it the fact that protagonist Boone Dias is not from the Ether that makes him uniquely qualified to handle the case? If so, then how so? This compelling story bends reality, shifts perspectives and breaks the rules as much as it relies on them in order to keep us on the edge of our seats. Kindt continues to impress us with character development, one dilemma after another, and results that build the plot up instead of dragging it out, or worse, ending it prematurely. Kindt doesn’t use gimmicks, but instead relies on the story to do the work. He creates an alternate universe, without being self-important, which has made for a solid foundation where anything he imagines is possible.
It’s like a Dr. Suess story with teeth, grit, and mortal consequences. Those elements are hoisted up to the highest standards of quality thanks to David Rubin. In an industry brimming with talent, it’s funny how there are so few that can instantly brand a book with their style the way he can. Rubin’s style is so unique and so original that his depressing, mundane version of the real world is as exciting to witness as the fantastic environments within the Ether. There are noticeable changes in Boone Dias as he is transported from one realm to another, creating some great visual cues. Once in the Ether, Dias is, as a result, more charming, confident, heroic and all around a better man, though it does take its toll on him. Rubin clearly has a good time creating this comic with wild-looking sound effects, unconventional panel arrangements and camera angles that are the very definition of dynamism. Praise about Ether might as well be praise for the artist in this case, because his imagery goes beyond a mere selling point. Rubin’s efforts to bring Kindt’s story to life are likely the primary reason why Ether will standout and hold a secure place on the new release rack for a very long time. At least we hope that’s the case. Sometimes, when a good thing comes along, you just can’t get enough and Ether makes us want to overindulge.
Ether #2 will be released December 21st from Dark Horse