The first issue of Vault Comics' Shadow Service left off with the lead character in a tricky situation. Does this second issue resolve the cliffhanger in a way that keeps the stakes high?
Shadow Service #1 was a good start to this series that kept the reader at arm's length from the leader character Gina, offering enough to intrigue but not quite enough to invest in her journey. This second issue is a huge improvement in that (and every) department, delivering a thrilling story where we see Gina fighting her way out of sticky situations at every turn using magic at times, but most often her brains and her grit. The magic itself also gets more interesting with this issue as new characters are involved, with a particularly stunning bit involving a very small man and a very particular skeleton. The parallels that writer Cavan Scott draws between Gina's flashbacks and her current behavior create an emotional throughline, turning the lead from a stranger to someone the reader wants to see survive.
Cavan Scott's heart-pounding script is brought to dark, nightmarish, expressive live by artist Corin Howell, colorist Triona Farrell, and letterer AndWorld Design. The artwork rides the stylized and realistic line, allowing the team to create beautifully designed creatures and magic that feels both visually dynamic and real enough to leave the reader with a sense of dread and wonder.
Shadow Service #2 improves on the already solid first issue in every way and is perfect for fans of urban fantasy and detective stories like The Dresden Files and Joss Whedon's Angel. The world and its characters are every bit as interesting as the protagonists of some of the literary world's long-running, best-selling urban fantasy series, so one can only hope that Shadow Service can keep going. It feels like there's a lot of dark depths for Scott and Howell to explore in this series.