Review: MANOR BLACK #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt
Artist and Colors: Tyler Crook
Cover Artist: Jill Thompson
Reviewed by: Tony Farina
Manor Black #2 begins back where it began last time except this time, we see things from Ari’s perspective. We know how she escaped and how she ended up at Manor Black. Meanwhile, the Black family seems pretty upset with patriarch, Roman, for taking in Ari in the first place. There is a lot of contention. It turns out, Wild Magic is on the loose and that does not sound good.
The new sheriff, is not really enjoying his new role. He wants to part of it in fact, but he does his job the best as he can. He slowly unfolds a mystery that involves the burnt car, Ari and more senseless deaths. His cousin reminds him that their Aunt believes in magic and that maybe, he should too. The plot thickens.
Tyler Crook is doing some stunning work on Manor Black. Every page looks like it is painted with watercolors. Even the black and white pages are captivating. The way this issue starts out is in black and while and grey and then Crook drops and explosion of color right in our faces and while this is just a comic book, the color is almost blinding as it contrasts what came before. Look here:
The whole book is filled with color-tastic gems like this. Seriously, once you are done reading this issue, you should go back and just look at the amazing art. I did.
The story that Bunn and Hurtt are telling here is complex and convoluted. They are not in too big of a hurry and that is a good thing. They also don’t have too many sub-plots. When we veer away from Ari and the Black family, the story is still about them. The police procedural stuff add stakes to the world of humans. Having random spontaneous combustion happen to side characters, or people we thought might be main characters, means no one is safe and we need to pay attention.
That complex and convoluted plot might be a turn off for some people. Not for me but when there are not a lot of answers and the questions all remain magical, that can be an issue. Magic is such and “easy” fix. There is literal hand waving of problems away.
This is a well paced, beautifully drawn mystery/horror series. Two issues in and I am already waiting for the next issue in month. The characters are having time to develop naturally. There is no forcing of exposition. Hurtt and Bunn are allowing the readers to figure things out and for that, readers should be grateful. The sign of a good book is that we spend time thinking about it once we are done reading it. Manor Black will occupy your time.