Incursion #2 Review: All That’s Unholy
Incursion #2 takes us deeper into the Deadside as Gilad tries to save Tama from almost certain death – and by extension, the entire Earth.
Story: Andy Diggle & Alex Paknadel
Script: Alex Paknadel
Art: Doug Braithwaite
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Paknadel is doing what he does best in Incursion, and issue #2 starts building on the elegant groundwork issue #1 laid by taking the immediacy of Tama’s illness and sending Gilad on a delightfully weird quest to try and save her. The stakes are high – it’s only the fate of our entire world, after all – but Paknadel lavishes a lot of attention on the various traps and perils of the Deadside to make for a fun and engaging read. Amy the demon and the sarcastic undead guards in Virago’s keep are apt, light touches that keep Incursion from drowning under the weight of its lofty fantasy aims, and are just the right kicks of imaginative storytelling that keep this from being a standard sword-and-sorcery jaunt. However, there’s enough mystery here that the humor lands as the flavor element it’s supposed to be without cheapening Gilad’s desperate bid to cure Tama’s illness. Syntilla is a very compelling character, Virago’s an excellent operatic villain, and while it might be too early to predict (despite the direct reference to fatherhood in this issue), Paknadel appears to be doing something very heartfelt and lovely with kinship and vitality in this series that I’m entirely on board with.
Braithwaite’s work was great in the first issue, and the attention to detail he lavishes on all the creatures and realms of the Deadside is really something. The realism wall we hit in issue #1 is gone here because we’re dealing with a lot of otherworldly creatures, and Gilad seems more at home in these fantastical landscapes than he does on Earth. Issue #2 boasts a lot of visual interest: the demons are very aptly done, the double-page spread of Gilad chopping through Virago’s guards is Conan-esque in its detail and dynamism, down to the reflection of one desperate guard in Gilad’s pupil. Issue #1 cultivated a sense of unease that’s amplified here even as the book’s loaded with more direct action, and that’s down to Braithwaite’s phenomenal ability to structure an action scene as adeptly as a single pinch.
As Braithwaite gets to spread his wings in this issue, so too does Rodriguez. The color palette that was so lovely and nuanced in issue #1 gets more overt variation, to great effect. There’s more to play with in terms of mood, and Rodriguez uses beautiful sea blues and purples to denote life just as adeptly as he employs pastel hellscape reds and sickly greens as Gilad draws closer to Virago. Choosing a pastel palette with watercolor texturing helps enhance Braithwaite’s incredible detail, and Rodriguez’s bold use of light adds an ethereal quality to even the darkest of moments in issue #2.
Dillon balances several different fonts and balloon and narrative box styles in this issue so that the comic remains readable with a lot of visual interest. The demons’ font is appropriately weird and sketchy without sacrificing any readability, and the black balloons are a nice contrast on the page. Dillon keeps speakers clear with colored narrative boxes at the beginning of the comic, and keeps with the subtle grey and and irregular balloon borders for Virago that were so striking in issue #1. There are a hell of a lot of sound effects as Gilad battles his way toward the center of the Deadside, and Dillon does them well on the page so they blend pretty effectively with Braithwaite’s art. The contrast is an enhancement instead of a deterrent, and that’s down to clever placement and unique styling.
With two issues to go, the fate of the Earth, Tama and Gilad’s moral center are all on the line, just as Virago’s time is running out. With so much at stake for both hero and villain, and with so much good craft at the helm, Incursion is bound to keep delighting to the end.
Incursion #2 drops this NCBD!