After a real ‘hidden gem’ quality to the first issue of Esoteric Dialogue…..issue #2 took on the much more challenging job of trying to match the previous issue’s bold story and a subtle, real-world message.
Writer Scott Bufis & artist Matthew Salazar team up again to bring us two stories this time round as they first go galactic with the main story Space Snobs Adventures.
This tells the story of two privileged beings (think Kang & Kodos from The Simpsons) are seen cruising through space when their delusions of grandeur get the better of them and they hatch a plan to get themselves some minions to keep their ship clean & tidy. Their attempts to get their hands on a work force through dubious means ultimately fails on them and their attempts to resolve those problems back-fires on them in a case of cosmic karma.
The story and art on this first story cruise through an eclectic mix of characters that sees the central characters become all too familiar in their outlook, even with their alien form, and while the supporting cast throw other recognizable flaws into the mix. The story itself is a basic one but it’s the undertone of using the absurdity of an off-world heist-gone-wrong to reflect on the absurdity of the real world situation being evident in the world today that’s the real success here. A comic book story with layers is an intriguing gambit to take but the Two Tone Comix team seem to ease into this style without a stumble.
The creative team come crashing back to reality with A King Among Them where we see our homeless central character try to survive another day but ultimately he’s given an open invitation to cross into another dimension. This is where the story becomes surreal but engaging nonetheless as he explores his new surroundings as the narrative seems to haunt his thoughts and burrow into ours as we read. A bittersweet tale for sure but it’s another case of a single story having multiple layers that mean you come away from reading this second issue in a similar, thought-provoking frame of mind as you did with that first issue.
The cult, underground vibe to Esoteric Dialogue makes this an intriguing title to read and then reflect on as an obvious tale for entertainment rests on the surface as a subtle slap in the face from reality bubbles under the surface. Great work again from the team.