In Review: Escape From New York #2

This is an improvement over the premiere issue, but I'm still left wanting in every aspect of the book.

The covers: A pair for you to seek out on your journey to collect this series. The Main cover is by Declan Shalvey with colors by Jordie Bellaire. Snake is on the streets of New York, trying to make his way to safety. He’s got a seeping chest wound and his arms have definitely seen better days. A decent image, but the background is wasted because the orange is overwhelming, washing out the buildings and the head from the Statue of Liberty. The Variant by Dan Panosian is much better. Leaning against some debris before a bombed out building, Snake looks down cockily at the reader, his gun ready to end any disagreements. Excellent. Overall grades: Main C+ and Variant A

The story: I enjoyed the story much more than in the premiere issue, but it did move at a breakneck speed, not giving me much time to learn anything about the characters. Snake is in free Florida where he’s taken prisoner by the two leaders of the state, teenage twins in charge. They drive Snake to their penthouse suite where they have an offer for him: help lead their army as they invade the rest of America. They’ve got nukes from Cuba, so it shouldn’t be tough. With Plissken fudging on his answer, the twins pull in four men with guns to persuade him. He doesn’t take to his well and is able to get out with a gun, killing any who get in his way. Once outside he encounters trouble: the twins’ mother. She seemed like a character from a John Carpenter film, and the banter that she has with Snake was spot on. Christopher Sebela is doing a lot with this one issue, moving between three locations with a lot of people for Snake to encounter. That’s the one big slight in this story–there’s just not enough time spent in the second and third locations to build up any buy-in to any of the characters. Some of them die, which is not a surprise if Snake is around, but when they do it’s not a loss to me as a reader. I haven’t known the characters long enough for any sympathy. The action that occurs in the book is really good, especially in the last location. However, I still don’t know what Snake’s plans are. In both films there’s a clearly established goal, in this series it just seems to be survival. The first issue was get into Florida, this one is to get out? Hard to tell. Still, better than last month. Overall grade: B-

The art: Also an improvement with this issue was the art. The character work is solid. There are many, many new characters in this outing, from those in the last two settings, and Diego Barreto renders each to look unique from his or her peers. The backgrounds are also much better. The second page is the road trip from the border to the capital of Florida and much of the story is told in the visuals. That said, I wanted to see some heat, humidity, or rain. Everyone looks way too dry and comfortable. No one ever breaks a sweat. I was very impressed with Pages 8 – 12 which deal with a setting interior. Barreto doesn’t let any panel go empty. The amount of detail makes the setting very real. The action is really good in this issue as it’s Snake versus the masses. The fight on Pages 6 and 7 is a great hand to hand tussle. The final battle in the issue involves gunplay and it, too, looks great. I really liked the layout of the final page, which uses panels one and four to show one character’s state. Much, much better this month. Overall grade: B+

The colors: The opening pages are too dull for Florida. Having been there twice for a trip, I don’t recall the Sunshine State ever being this dreary. The characters are dressed for the heat and humidity but it’s a pale violet sky that seems like it’s going to rain, but it never does. The second setting has dull colors, but it’s appropriate for there because it’s an interior. The final setting is also surprisingly dull. When there are some graphic sequences, orange is used for blood rather than red. This mutes the horror and is the wrong choice. Even the sounds are dull: yellow and orange. Very disappointed with Marissa Louise’s contributions to this book. Overall grade: D

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, and “To be continued…” are created by Ed Dukeshire. They look fine, but nothing, not even the sounds (due to their colors) stand out. Overall grade: B

The final line: This is an improvement over the premiere issue, but I’m still left wanting in every aspect of the book. Overall grade: B-

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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