Levels #2: Writers – Richard Allan & Greg Liddle, Art – Karl Engracia, Inks & Cover – Nathan Allison, Lettering – Toben Racicot.
We left mild-mannered window cleaner Frankie Barrett in the midst of a massive freak out among the workers at the office block that employs him and with a fellow survivor joining his quest for an escape the wider plot begins to come into view. The disgruntled employee’s trigger to the unfolding chaos becomes the very beginning of a bigger series of plans but there’s a sea of challenges facing Frankie and his new ally. The gore is still there and there is definite progress on all those plot lines from Richard & Greg so the momentum is in place from that first issue.
The one difference in this second issue seems to be the amount of dialogue & text that are on some of the pages as it’s started to reach a point of saturation in some places. It managed to deal with that in the opening issue but here it starts to disrupt some of the flow a bit for me although thankfully it doesn’t happen during some of the longer sections with Frankie and his challenges in the office block. The detail in the art from Karl & inks by Nathan adds a familiar level of quality that helps capture the pace of the fight scenes and the scale of the situation they find themselves in and Toben returning on lettering helps keep the momentum of the plots flowing, even in the sections with too much reading going on.
This still feels like a strong set of ideas to weave together and the blend of humour & violence across the pages keeps a nice balance to what’s unfolding. The different strands are holding their own and if the amount of dialogue/narration could be streamlined then I think this could all flow just as well as the opener did. Great work from the team in the end after a pretty high bar being set in the previous issue but I’m sure the rest of the series will get find it’s flow.
The Plight #2: Writers – Richard Allan & Greg Liddle, art – Tommy Cree
After some untimely deaths in the previous issue at the hands of God himself, this second issue deals with all the fallout for Cal Parsons where his work & family life have really been thrown into the air. The struggle to cope is all very real for Cal though and when he takes the choice to end it all things spiral even further out of control for him very rapidly. This all ends with him being caught in the middle of a head-to-head between God & Death himself as the games between them from the opener rear their head again. There’s a ton of extra complications for both Cal & God but the extra depth to each of their stories adds more & more to get hooked on for this release.
Richard & Greg have got a great set of plots on their hands here and as they’ve paced it so well the revelations hit hard with a slick sense of purpose. Like Levels, there’s a few sections that have a lot of narration & dialogue to handle but it feels less invasive here, so the whole series takes a step up in quality. That’s emphasized with the art from Tommy as the consistency in the characters, some of the details with silhouettes & some smart layouts really bring out the power struggle that’s building and the challenging situation that Cal finds himself in.
The writing is holding together well and I’m hoping that should continue into the next issue as long as it doesn’t go any further on the amount of text that’s appearing on the pages. Tommy’s work on art has really taken a step forward for me on this one as it becomes tighter in terms of detail, the characters and the layouts he’s using – which really starts to tie together those plots. Great stuff on offer from this and long may that continue.