Klarion #2 further builds the world Ann Nocenti created in the debut issue. Klarion finds himself in combat with his friend, Rasp, who appears jealous of Klarion’s ability. With their battle attracting a crowd, the two young men, along with their friend Zell, retreat back to the Moody Museum.
From there the issue begins to bounce between Klarion and his friends and the two factions that are seemingly preparing for a war. The teachers at the Moody Museum speak of an enemy approaching, while at the Necropolitan club, there are discussions about machines and whether or not they will overtake humanity.
The largest tension in the issue comes towards the end as Rasp spies Zell and Klarion practicing gymnastics as per the instructions of their teachers.
Ann Nocenti devises some clever set pieces in her script. The setting for the final scene is inventive, and it’s fun to watch these would-be witches attend a magic school where they first need to strengthen their physical forms. The script also has little moments of self-awareness, as one of the characters is quite concerned about another’s plans coming too close to science-fiction story territory. Klarion’s final caption provides a nice bit of humor to to end the issue. Trevor McCarthy’s art is vivid and there’s some lovely spreads that assist in keeping the story flowing. The page where we see the world from the tech-enhanced Rasp’s point of view is a nice visual treat.
Unfortunately, Klarion #2 has a lot of problems. Nocenti has a lot of moving pieces on the board, but there isn’t a lot of balance between them. Much of this is due to the fact that a good portion of the scenes are spent with characters speaking with an airy mystique. This deprives the characters of the space needed for true development or the plot any chance to break away from the tropes.
The scene in the Necropolitan club comes across as particularly wasteful, as it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to remind the reader that the villain exists. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but these antagonists don’t really seem to offer anything of interest. They’re convinced of mankind’s need for machinery and are looking to take advantage of it. It all feels like empty posturing, a plot that’s going through the motions without really investing in them. The pacing issues are only amplified by the fact that this is the second issue of Klarion’s new series. With the exception of the titular character, Nocenti has barely given the characters space to escape beyond their basic tropes. Zell is the girl, Rasp is the jealous ex-boyfriend, and the two never seem to grow beyond that.
Klarion is a book with some serious flaws. Nocenti appears to have a good grasp on her characters and plot, but seems to be skipping key development scenes in the final product. With a number of moving parts and very little time for its characters, Klarion #2 makes the mistake of running forward and leaving its reader behind.