When I first heard about this comic, I was thrilled that Brian Buccellato would be returning to Image for another creator owned endeavor, this time with co-writer Jen Young and artist Matias Bergara. But a part of me was a bit worried as well, a comic about some pandemic level outbreak that was turning humans into flesh eating monsters, seemed like ground Image had already tread. Either way I was going to give it a shot, and it hasn’t disappointed me yet.
The series is not another post apocalyptic tale, that is to say it is not a struggle for survival against unending hordes of bloodsuckers, instead it focuses more on the tension that is building in a small southern town that has yet to have reported a carnivorous attack. The book is more of a crime story, a rural noir in league with FX’s Fargo or Image’s Revival, but there’s a twist. In this tale, the criminal might be a monster, but then again, aren’t they always.
Cannibal #2 is a perfect follow up to the first issue as darkness is steadily creeping into the tiny Florida town of Willow. Strange events continue to pile up that we can only hope are somehow connected, but all in due time.
Buccellato and Young are carefully crafting a crime story and in doing so are keeping the pacing slow to help build up the suspense. That doesn’t mean the pacing on this issue has slowed down any though. There’s plenty of action throughout and the comic reads as more fun than cerebral. The opening scene gives us a heady chill though as a little boy’s hunger for doughnuts on a long drive seems to echo the cannibal’s hunger inside the gas station who just needs a little bite to hold himself over as well. But for the most part, Buccellato and Young are just building these characters through their actions more so than through their inner thoughts.
And that’s where Matias Bergara’s gritty art really dances with this well plotted story. Silhouetted figures seem harbingers of what’s to come, while lines delivered through snarled smiles add horror undertones to this creepy crime comic. The panels read wonderfully throughout, I particularly like the way he handles the local sheriff out investigating a woman’s disappearance while her boyfriend is mournfully locked up at the station.
Buccellato is really pouring his heart into this one, taking on coloring this comic in addition to writing it. His main palette is one of bright amber, like a good whiskey, warm and hazy. But when the plot begins to thicken these colors quickly cool down to match the mood. And when things heat up with the action, the palette takes on a more fiery red hue.
Overall I highly recommend checking Cannibal #2, especially if you are a fan of small town sheriffs and local watering holes. The story might be a slow burn, but I’m confident this team will deliver. There seems to be a much larger picture than we are able to view and my curiosity is piqued to see more of it. Right now the comic certainly offers more questions than it answers, but that’s what makes any mystery fun.
- Artwork and colors that echo an eerie vibe
- A small town mystery with big promise
- Still little is known about the book’s larger picture
- Fast paced action that leaves out character development