Art by Jeremy Haun
Colour by John Rauch
Lettering & Design by Fonografiks
Published by Image
Foster struggles to come to terms with the reality of life as a Beauty sufferer while other carriers continue to die. This time on air…
The second issue of Image’s relentless confident, and weird, police procedural moves the plot along at a sprint. In the space of one issue we get an exploration of Foster’s minds et, the very realistic possibility he’s coming apart at the seams and conclusive proof of the cover up he and Vaughn suspected last issue. It’s heady, fast paced stuff and Haun and Hurley are more than up to the task.
There’s a feeling of Bendis’ crime work to the exchanges between the two cops. They have a welcome emotional shorthand that, if anything, their shared status as Beauty sufferers, brings into sharper relief. Better still, by having Foster be very much not okay with it, the book rows back from the possible worry last issue raised. There was a chance there that Vaughn would be seen as either aloof or sexually promiscuous as a result of the virus. In reality, she’s neither of the sort; a grounded, sensible cop who’s concerned not only for her partner but for someone starting down the road she’s been navigating for a while.
Conversely, having Foster come apart leads to a moment of real ambiguity and menace. He arrives for work with his hands wrapped and, later, we see that he’s totalled most of the house. His wife apparently left but, given how off balance Foster is, the book doesn’t shy away from him being a real threat to her. It’s a subtly done move and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in later issues.
In fact, everything set up here promises much for the future of the book. The conspiracy is made overt and, apparently, takes action this issue and Foster and Vaughn are systematically excised from their support networks. There’s a sense of things getting away from them, an urgency that suggests big changes are coming very soon. It’s communicated not just in the script but in Haun’s clever, character-centric art and the space the panel layouts give it. This is a book unafraid to breathe and shift pace and that, once again, will put you in mind of Bendis, specifically on the Daredevil run he did with Alex Maleev. There’s the same grounded sensibility, a similar colour scheme from the excellent Rauch and the same snese of creeping urban menace. That versatility of tone is embodied in Fonografik’s elegant, functional lettering too.
This is a clever, sinister book that’s only just getting started. Pick it up, and get in on the ground floor of the oddest, and best, crime series of 2015.