By John Layman, Sam Keith, and Ronda Pattison
The debut issue of Eleanor & The Egret set a tone and look that was fresh and allowed readers to engage with the whimsical story. Unfortunately, this follow-up issue seems to have become lax in most of its components. Detective Belanger continues his investigation, following up on the false lead given to him by Eleanor. Meanwhile, the criminal and her avian accomplice carry out another heist. As the comic progresses a new character comes into focus – the artist of all the stolen artwork, Ms. Rüe. She has her own brand of justice in mind for the perpetrators…
The narrative moves along well enough, but nothing really exciting or entertaining happens and the moments that are meant to be comedic, just come off as absurd or childish. The events that unfold are just plot fodder to push forward until the introduction of the new character. All the scenes were necessary, but they had no life to them and that is also due to the artwork. John Layman just didn’t have the charm this time around and that can affect how readers connect with the material. This narrative is asking a lot of its audience to buy into and suspend their disbelief, so when the elements that clicked are not present or used inadequately, the whole structure begins to crack…
Sam Keith’s work on this book lost its edge in comparison to the previous issue. The art nouveau style is still present and recognizable, but the detail is inconsistent. When Belanger visits a zoo in the beginning of the comic. The establishing panel shows animals, a few people a fence and a tree. There is no other background detail, as if the work was rushed or Keith felt that not including a background was necessary. Sadly, it just comes off as lazy because there are pages that show his real skill as an artist. The only real positive of this book is Ronda Pattison’s color work. She continues to deliver her excellent watercolor styled coloring that makes Sam Keith’s inconsistent art have some semblance of a fluidity to it. Her work on Ellis the Egret is stunning, actually all the animals look beautiful with her deft handiwork. Sadly, her powerful palette is not enough to save this comic.
Overall, this was a step backward in the series. It’s really disheartening to see a novel concept and approach become lost somewhere in the creative process. Hopefully, the creative team will receive a wake-up call and soar to new, crazy heights with the forthcoming issues.
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