By Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, Michael Garland, Michael Parkinson, and Chris Crank.
The second issue of Curse Words really took this series into overdrive. The issue handles heavy issues like justice, morality, and love, all with a clever tongue in cheek way only Soule and Browne could deliver. After all, the moral compass of the series is Margaret (a talking koala). We got to learn more about Wizord and his past and present motivations, while also gaining more information about Sizzajee. This issue picks up right where the premiere issue dropped us off after Wizord just shrunk an entire baseball stadium. Meanwhile, Sizzajee and his disciples are trying to figure out a way to take Wizord out while completing his failed mission: the destruction of Earth.
The art and story are so seamlessly intertwined throughout this book that it is hard to see where Charles Soule ends and Ryan Browne begins! The story is defined through the writing as much as from the color choices, character designs, and panel layouts. Soule is credited with writing and Browne with art, but it is really collaboration between the two that brings the magic to life in this book. There is a lot to be said about the joy and silliness of the art style that jumps off the page. From bight colors to talking Koalas, the art style stands out from other books on the shelves. The lightheartedness of the story comes across in the art; the cheeky facial expressions of Wizord or the suggestive sly grin across a half-horse half-man, absolutely help to set the tone of the book. This book could read really dark with another artist and different creative choices. The story itself really becomes alive with the intentional art style Browne infuses. It is really the clear, shared vision between Soule and Browne that delivers the ‘hipster wizard that is trying to break good story’.
This issue dives deep not only into Wizord and his past, but also into his arch nemesis, Sizzajee, and his kingdom, The Hole World. Information is being fed endlessly to the readers, from Wizord and his romantic past to the inner-workings of The Hole World. We learn more about Wizord’s romantic past with Ruby, showing a more vulnerable side of Wizord and also a more ruthless one. The book is clearly working toward a showdown between the two, but right when you are certain where the action is going, a huge event occurs that shakes the entire story to its core. This is all after just two issues. Soule and Browne find a way to twist and weave the story so no one knows what to expect next.
All this exploration into The Hole World really gives the creative team a chance to design some fun things. We meet the bird people Ruby comes from and we can assume leads (but we really do not get a lot of information on) and we get to see some cool character designs. Notable design work we get to see include Sizzajee himself and the half-horse half-man disciple of Sizzajee, Botchko. The intricate detail in each character reveals some cool little Easter eggs if you pay close enough attention, but if you want a hint, Ruby is not imitating Bowie with the scar on her face. This kind of detail and love in the art really rewards loyal comic readers and give the readers some material to form theories and their own backstory to satiate their curiosity. Remember, this is only the second issue, but Browne and Soule are clearly in this book for the long run with the amount of investment they put in artistically.
Curse Words #2 is a terrific follow-up to the first issue; the art’s attention to detail coupled with the rapid pacing of the story, all demonstrate how fun and complex this book is. The character of Wizord is more complex than the hipster beard would lead one to believe. (Side note: It was nice to get confirmation from this book that all magic is attributed to a man’s facial hair, something we have all long suspected.) There is a lot of room to grow with this character and infinite stories this team could put out. This issue shows the true potential for Curse Words to be a rewarding, long running series.