The Autumnal #2 Review: Eisner-Worthy Content From Kraus & Shehan

The Autumnal #2
10/10
Another perfect issue from Kraus, Shehan, Wordie, & Campbell, perfectly balancing horror, mystery, & drama.

Following The Autumnal's debut issue must have been a weight on the creative team's shoulders for a couple of reasons. First… it was a hell of a debut. One of the best of 2020 by a huge margin. Second… wow, that final image. There are certain images that are so horrific in a way that transcends their context (I'm thinking of a certain scene from The Taking of Deborah Logan), so horrific that every conversation about the story eventually turns to that image. The Autumnal #1 ends with such an image. Now, how does the second issue continue from that horrific ending?

The Autumnal #2 cover. Credit: Vault Comics
The Autumnal #2 cover. Credit: Vault Comics

The Autumnal #2 continues almost directly from the ending of the first issue, putting Kat and Sybil in a situation that is almost as horrifying as the image at the funeral parlor (that's all I'll say about it — for real, read it) in a much quieter, more emotional way. Kat, knowing she's about to inherit her mother's house, sits in a rainy park with Sybi telling herself two things: This is just for the night because they have no place to go until tomorrow… and yet, still, this is child abuse. Kat, guarded and tense to everyone except Sybil, is a massively empathetic character whose self-hatred and self-pity are dipping back and forth endlessly on the seesaw that is her emotional state. Sybil, a self-admitted bully, is likable and wants to be liked as well, and the reader can't help but care immediately and immensely. This issue gets closer to revealing what the horror element of The Autumnal, but right now, it's the not knowing that's most terrifying. The entire creative team — writer Daniel Kraus, artist Chris Shehan, colorist Jason Wordie, and letterer Jim Campbell — have delivered another pitch-perfect chapter here with The Autumnal #2. It's Eisner-worthy creating if I've ever witnessed it.

After reading The Autumnal #1, I had to get caught up on this series. Just two issues it, it has become my most-anticipated read. Every week that this series comes out, it'll be my first comic read that week. If there were more comics with character work as strong as this in both the writing and the artwork, the idea of someone who doesn't read comics would be as strange as the idea of someone who doesn't even watch movies.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.