By Olly MacNamee
A monthly review spotlighting the best titles the industry has to offer. Well, has to offer me anyway. Other comic-book titles are available. With a busy week at work, I will be releasing reviews into the wild one at a time. Today, we welcome back Owen Michael Johnson and John Pearson's Beast Wagon, no strangers.
Beast Wagon No.2 (Changeling Studios)
Writer: Owen Michael Johnson
Artist: John Pearson
The animals are revolting, but the humans are even more revolting as we welcome back the malcontent menagerie of Whipsnarl Zoo and their human jailers in Beast Wagon No.2.
In this second issue of this British Comic Book Award nominated comic, there is further growing unrest, with the captured and caged animals sensing their time, a time for a better tomorrow for all, is nigh, but there are many false starts and false prophets for them to overcome should their dreams have any chance of coming true.
Returning creatures from issue one offer us a read that lurches from the darkly comedic to the brutal, with issues such as domestic and sexual abuse being explored through these Aesopian animals. Alongside that, there are more humorous events such as our old simian friend, Brother Stokley, feeling suitably impressed with a bunch of wasters while getting high on their supply, which itself triggers weed induced epiphany and strengthens his convictions for bloody rebellion.
The art, by the talented John Pearson, is suitably moody, sticking on the whole to sepias, browns and other earthy colours and in its attention to detail gives the reader sense of reality not often seen in comics, but appropriate for the story and themes being explored with its pages.
Tensions grow and plans are hatched in this second issue, in both the animal kingdom and the human world too. A riveting read of diverse and distinct voices that have the power, thanks to Owen Michael Johnson's deft script, to make you laugh and ponder the deeper social commentaries at play here too.
Beast Wagon No. 2 launches at Thought Bubble this weekend and nationally next week. Go hunt it down.
Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn't know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at email@example.com. Or don't. You can also read his articles fairly frequently at www.bleedingcool.com too.