Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Vivek Shinde, I. Jeyabalan (colors)
Publisher: Virgin Comics
Now this I didnít see coming. No, I am not talking about the body disposal. A carry over from the last issue, this was a given if only to clean things up. I am not even wondering aloud about the two kills (from amongst the remaining members of the 68). That part is a given in any issue of this series, seeing as the Snake Woman is going/has to kill them all. I donít mean the tireless detective duo or even the going against the establishment and doing things his way half of it. That clichť is allowed for. No, the thing that came as a bolt from the blue was the ending, or to be more specific the way it was reached. Oh, I knew this too would happen sooner or later. Given the circumstances and character reaction(s), this was expected. But in this way and by that means by the hands (no pun intended) of this character? Way to get the interest up.
Sadly though, the aforementioned interest doesnít quite pan to the whole issue. Jessica Peterson, the latest incarnation of the Snake Woman, comes off as rather one dimensional. Even though she had shown and at times still shows vague shadows of a possible caring side, more often than not her part here is limited to being the obligatory "heartless" prop, be it in her interaction with other characters or just the way she carries herself. At no time do we get the feeling that she might actually face some problem that might, well, be problematic to her. Itís all too easy. All too mundane. All too boring. Even when one of the two detectives sounds similar sentiments, it comes across as if they are just going through the paces.
As for the detectives themselves, I already stated their "rage against the machine" behavior. Following up on the shed-snake-skin glove discovered last issue, the two of them reach Jessicaís building. The evidence they find there (mistakenly left over after the clean-up following the killing from the first issue) links the two murderers. However, even as the two of them are trying to further their investigation, they are stone-walled and removed from the case, proving once again the depth of the reach of the 68.
Lastly, the 68 after this issueís kills have lost a total of eight members from their clique, leaving them at 60-without-8. As secret societies go, the 68 are as interesting as the next one, which in Virginís case would be the Cabinet of Shadows from over in Devi. Nevertheless, one can only hope that the CoS doesnít have a James Harker amongst them.
On his second issue, artist Vivek Shinde seems to be finding his Snake-legs quite well and though having his own style, he manages to keep close to the mood set by the previous artists. That said, I canít help but wonder how this series would come across if done with flashier art.
Conclusion: A step up from the previous issue but not quite as deep as the one before (my favorite issue of this series so far).
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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