New characters are introduced as the shadowy paramilitary group continues to hunt powered individuals; meanwhile, tensions begin to rise on the home front as Hotshot demands to know what secrets Edward is keeping. How does it fare?
Noel Clarke continues his excellent character work and back stories in The Troop #2. In addition to his outstanding characterization, he manages to continue to create disgustingly, shocking scenes right from the get go. I mean, he introduces us to one of the new characters, Torrence, as she is excreted into a toilet. It’s disgusting, but oddly awesome at the same time. Joshua Cassara’s artwork absolutely kills it with this opening scene.
After introducing us to Torrence and her powers, Clarke flashes back to the past to give us a look at who she is. Clarke is able to take a simple conversation and show us her friendship with her best friend, Cynthia, and then utterly breaks our hearts on the next page as he creates another traumatic experience for his characters. If the first traumatic event wasn’t enough, he adds to it in the most shocking of manners. It keeps you on your toes throughout the issue as you wonder what other plot twists and turns might be in store and there are a number of them.
The dialogue is excellent especially between Hotshot and Edward as they fight like a father and son. Edward makes his intentions clear with short, blunt statements while Hotshot goes on a long rant, complaining about how unfair his circumstances are. It gets even better when Stephanie intervenes like a mother and Hotshot directs his anger at her. Clarke really makes them feel like a family and Cassara captures their reactions, even portraying Janette running out of the room upset from the argument.
Clarke still struggles with his transitions between the different characters and storylines. At one point he jumps three times in three pages. It can be a little hectic and might throw you off. There are also some lettering issues where word bubbles are a little out of order. It isn’t too big of a deal, but the flow of the dialogue is off. It could have been easily corrected by placing the word bubble just a little higher in the above panel.
Joshua Cassara’s artwork is absolutely fantastic. It is dark, violent, and explosive. There are so many shocking scenes that Cassara absolutely nails. His panel layouts allow him to build tension and suspense for the shocking reveal, but unlike many comics that give you the big reveals in full-page splash pages, his are embedded within the page and provide a strong, emotional moment afterwards. In a separate scenario he does away with the tension building and provides the shock straight away.
Cassara’s coloring highlights his artwork and makes some of the shocking moments more poignant. He also makes the dark moments even darker by using deep purples and black in the background. In addition, he does a great job of giving us different times of day through the positioning of the sun and how the light is shown across the page. He uses it to dramatize certain panels, setting up an epic confrontation.
The Troop #2 is a phenomenal experience. It is dark and gritty with extremely shocking and traumatizing back stories for the new characters while also exploring the family dynamic of the current Troop. The artwork is top-notch and the writing is great, though there are still some minor issues including Clarke’s transitions and some minor lettering hiccups. You should buy this book. You won’t regret it.
- Brutal, shocking, and awesome artwork
- Fantastic characterization
- Plenty of plot turns and twists to keep you on edge
- Clarke's transitions are still very rough as he jumps back and forth between story lines
- A minor lettering issue