In Review: Half Past Danger 2 #2

The femme fatale takes center stage in his enjoyable WWII pulp adventure.

The covers: A pair to seek for the second issue in this second series. The A cover is by creator Stephen Mooney with colors by Tamra Bonvillain. Elizabeth is in a skin tight black outfit that would make Emma Peel fans happy. She’s giving the reader a smoldering look, probably to draw attention away from the pistol she’s holding. Three large bullets are behind her, each containing an image of the male leads: Ishi, Irish, and John. The coloring is primarily tan, giving this frontpiece some appropriate age to book. Great pulp cover. The B cover is by Stephen Byrne and looks like a movie poster. Tom has his pistol held toward the reader, looking concerned. Behind him is John, whose gun is trained on an unseen foe to the left. Elizabeth’s head is behind the boys, looking anxious. Flaming skulls are on the left side of the image, while at the bottom two fighters soar past a jeep, whose occupant turns to look at the Tyrannosaurus Rex that’s roaring. All of these bottom elements are lit by flames. The entire cover is tainted by the flames with orange and yellows, making the piece tense. Wonderful! Overall grades: A A and B A+

The story: General Nolan is not a happy man because spy Elizabeth Huntignton-Moss has been discovered on base by Tommy “Irish” Flynn and John Noble. The only thing keeping her from being thrown in the stockade is that she says she has information about the Nazi dinosaur pathogen. After arguing about whether to hear her out or not, she’s allowed to speak and she reveals that the Germans are working with the Japanese to create a vaccine to inoculate themselves against the pathogen. She states that efforts need to be done by the Allies to create their own vaccine and to find a living dinosaur specimen which is a needed component of the vaccine. Ishikawa took a dinosaur as a pet at the end of the previous series. After all this information is given, and it is a lot, but let’s be honest it is setting up the justification for this series, Stephen Mooney has a good action sequence occur in some very tight quarters. The dialogue that closes out Page 14 is just bad assery at its finest. Three pages are devoted to Elizabeth’s condition and I love Nolan’s no-nonsense response to what she says. Page 18 defines all three leads wonderfully, with Irish, once again, stealing the story. The reunion with Ishi is great, with his differences with the others apparent. The ending of the book is a great cliffhanger that has me amped to see how the heroes avoid reptilian death. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals by Stephen Mooney are a delight from the get-go. The first panel shows the base from a distance, high above, making the reader feel as though they are about to see something that’s trying to remain hidden, which is exactly the right tone for this book. Nolan’s office is great, full of the woodwork one one expect and the characters dressed in appropriate military gear, save Elizabeth who is the quintessential femme fatale in a dress complete with plunging neckline and plenty of opportunities to show a lot of leg. The back and forth between the characters on Pages 3 and 4 are equal sized eight panels, giving the dialogue considerable speed. Elizabeth gets a full-paged splash on 5 that shows her to be sexy and dangerous. Her close-ups on 7 make her absolutely captivating and threatening. The action sequence that follows is excellent, with two combatants trying to take out a lead. The choreography of the fight is good and impressively easily to follow, considering how small the setting is that this battle is occurring in. I love the survivor’s posture at the end of the fight on 14, which communicates how the character feels after this melee. The visuals on 18 enhance the humor of the dialogue fantastically. Take a good look at how ominous Elizabeth is made to look on 19, keeping the reader on his or her toes with how to interpret this character. The action in Japan is well done, again with easy to follow fighting, but it’s the ending that I’ve been looking forward to. The character that appears is awesome and I want more! Overall grade: A

The colors: Triona Tree Farrell is the colorist for this issue and she does a great job. I love the first panel on Page 2 with the general, who’s in the foreground, away from the light source, so he’s colored darkly. He’s got a great outline of light around him, showing the light is at his back, while the heroes of the book are easy to see. Elizabeth’s red outfit makes her a scene stealer even when shown from the back. Farrell does an outstanding job in shading characters’ flesh, making the images seem lifelike. This is especially true on Elizabeth. Note should be taken of the only time a bright color is used for a background and that’s in the second panel on Page 6, as Elizabeth learns something new. A tease of something to be revealed later? The fight in the middle of the book is in a dark space, but Farrell doesn’t overwhelm the art in dark colors to make the action obscured. The blue and pinks of the final location are beautiful and have me wanting to visit that country. Overall grade: A

The letters: No letterer is stated for this book. Given how Mooney is doing all but the colors, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s doing this as well. This unnamed contributor creates dialogue, the chapter number, the story title, whispers, sounds, yells, scene settings, and the tease for next issue. The styles used for the chapter, story and next issue tease capture the flavor of movie serials, which is one of the many sources of inspiration for this series. I like how lower case lettering is used for the Nolan’s whisper, making him sound quiet. The sounds are also good, with the wail on the final page excellent. Overall grade: A

The final line: The femme fatale takes center stage in his enjoyable WWII pulp adventure. Stephen Mooney’s labor of love will please those who like WWII, action, adventure, and intrigue. Could someone at Marvel call up Mr. Mooney to work on the long overdue comic book return of a famous cinematic archaeologist? Flat out fun. Overall grade: A

To order a print or digital copy go to http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/half-past-danger-ii-dead-to-reichs-2/

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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