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Violent Messiahs: Lamenting Pain #2

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2003
By: Craig Lemon



Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artists: Tone Rodriguez (p), Digital Chameleon (i)

Publisher: Image

With the conclusion of the first series, Citizen Pain disappeared and the detectives investigating him (Lt Cheri Major and Det Ernest Houston) are under deep scrutiny by Internal Affairs. They think Cheri is bonkers, and Ernest refuses to leave his tiny tenement. Whilst the police are concentrating on these two, Rankor's Island (the setting for this series) descends into more crime and decay; another serial killer is on the loose, a woman sheathed from head to toe in black rubber; she carves "Scalpel" into the bodies of her victims.

Cheri and Ernest get put on the case as a last resort, and last issue, had to experience the fetish culture on Rankor's Island to try and track Scalpel down - the bad news is Cheri get captured and tied up by Scalpel, who begins to carve her name into Cheri's body…Scalpel reveals she wants to know all about Citizen Pain, and whether he's still alive or not. It seems that Cheri only survives because she's not bad - my assumption at this point is Scalpel is so named because she cuts out the evil in society.

This encounter spurs Cheri on to taking on the investigation full-time, she hits a fetish club with Ernest in tow and plays the manager exactly right to get the information they need … which appears to be the civilian identity of Scalpel. What she is hiding in her apartment is the key to this four-part mini-series, and it shows that there are two more excellent episodes in store.

Each and every page and panel is packed with detail, yet the backgrounds never clutter up the foreground action; there's superb pacing and exciting dialogue, the whole package works exceedingly well. My own doubt regarding this book is how essential it is to have read the first series before you can enjoy it - I loved the first trade, and got a real kick from this series, but I can see that new readers might feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of stuff going on here. However, it's good enough, and exciting enough, to draw you in, so I recommend giving it a shot.



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