In Review: Delete #2

Save some time to savor Delete. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: There’s been a major change in one of the leads since last issue: Spencer has a pistol, and he’s firing it like mad at some foe beyond the cover’s scope. The look of intensity on his face shows he’s not the slow witted individual he was in the previous issue. As he’s blasting at the bad guys, his charge, little Kalina, is hanging on for her life to the ledge of the building. Will she fall or get shot in this issue? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to buy this book. This cover was illustrated by Amanda Conner and colored by Paul Mounts. It sums up the thrills of this book without spoiling any of the surprises inside. Overall grade: A 

The story: When our heroes were last seen, Spencer didn’t know where to go to escape those pursuing them. Two motorcycle officers find them and draw guns, but before they can get to the fugitives a black van slams into the officers, putting them out of play. Several armed men emerge from the van with rifles and begin blasting, mowing down any bystanders between them and their prey. Spencer grabs Kalina and runs. Several squad cars appear with many, many more police officers. The rifles of the new group are silenced as they and the police square off, with Spencer and Kalina in the middle. In the chaos that ensues, Spencer finds a door and their luck changes. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have got a really strong story going in this book. There’s some solid action in this book, but the story really takes a leap forward with the introduction of two characters who assist Kalina and Spencer. It’s the latter character who really gets some major character growth in this issue. He changes dramatically and what he’s become will spin the series in new directions. Revealed in this issue is what Kalina is carrying within her mind. The information within her will provoke an immediate reaction from readers faster than one can say “Hastert” (Are Palmiotti and Gray writing the future?). Pursued by two groups, it seems as though the slow man and mute girl have no way to confront their problems, until now. A terrific read. Overall grade: A+

The art: John Timms is creating some absolutely beautiful work on this book. The first page shows readers that this book is going to look amazing. The first panel is a point of view shot of Spencer becoming lost in the city. The perspective then spins a 180 to show the pair standing still against the busy city, while it’s snowing. The devil is in the details, and this panel is a fantastically fully rendered city, complete with vehicles, stores, and citizens making their way. A panel like this sells the overwhelming nature of the environment and makes a reader quickly realize the heroes are over their heads in trouble. The arrival of the first two officers is a dramatic shot thanks to the speed lines emanating from their appearance. Page 2 is a full page splash of the van’s arrival and the dispatching of the officers, though calling this a “Splat” page would be a better description. It’s always impressive when an artist can capture action without motion lines and Timms does that here. The action that follows this group’s appearance is riveting, with more players arriving and the point of view moving around constantly; this is like a film captured on paper. The residences of the two new characters encountered are excellent mirrors into each’s personality: one sparse and necessary, while the other’s is a mess. It’s the last setting that puts the most punch into the story, looking cobbled together from the works of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson. As the story moves forward, so do the villains, and the panels of the baddies trying to make their way in where the heroes are provides some good looks at the tech they’re using, which far outclasses what the leads have at their disposal. The final three pages of the book put a major punch into the dialogue, with one character bloody awesome. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The coloring by David Curiel on this book is fantastic. The work he does on the first five pages with lighting effects are cinematic. The last three panels on the first page make the reader feel the glare that’s coming off the vehicles, and the streak created by the arriving reinforcements on 4 is gorgeous. Sounds also pop with colors, giving the visuals some auditory panache. Though it’s easy to be drawn into the backgrounds of this book, it’s Curiel’s character work that really shines. The different shades he applies to characters’ flesh makes them real people: the new character on Page 7 has an instantly strong face because of the highlights applied to each wrinkle, and look at the phenomenal work done at the bottom of the page where Spencer does a facepalm –that shadow work is brilliant. And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention the last two pages’ use of red. It marks a shift in the story and makes the visuals jaw dropping. Never leave this book, Mr. Curiel. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, yells, sounds, a loudspeaker’s broadcast, police tape, signage, and the one word tease for next issue are brought to life by Bill Tortolini. The font that’s used for the dialogue is strong for this strong story and works just as well for dialogue where a voice is lowered. The sounds are incredible, putting just the right punch into every panel, with the opening and closing of the book being joyous to read aloud; though I do admit I’m partial to the ZZZQQQ on 11. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This book takes two reads because the action propels the reader to turn the pages as quickly as possible to find out what happens next. After surviving the first read, a second read is needed to see what was missed the first time through. There’s lots of action and some slick twists and turns as Delete reveals its secrets. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

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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