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Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh #2

Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2009
By: Charles Webb

Mark Waid
Minck Oosterveer
BOOM! Studios
Plot: In her search for proof of the afterlife, terminally ill detective Catherine Allingham travels from Italy to the small Midwestern town of Mountain Oak to look into a series of unsolved murders.

Comments: I think I may have stumbled on the solution to at least half of the mystery established by Mark Waid in this volume of The Unknown and, of course, Iíll keep it to myself.

Beyond my amateur sleuthing skills, this is another very good issue of what has so far been a very good series. Waid has invested protagonist Catherine Allingham with a brittle but never grating voice and provided her with an interesting foil in her new partner Adriana who has an agenda of her own and, later, a wise-beyond-his-years little boy named Lennis.

After reading this issue I wonder how much Cat knows about the bigger picture--is she in the moment, solving the mystery as the pieces come together, or is she several steps ahead, having deduced motivations and connections in between panels? Thinking back on some of the events of this issue Iím leaning on the latter, and Iím betting Iíll be validated by the first page of the next issue.

Here in issue #2 sheís following up a series of gruesome murders, each with the peculiar outcome of the seemingly disconnected victims scrawling a word or phrase with their own hand before they die. Itís an odd case and that gets odder still when Cat arrives at the curiously still town of Mountain Oak. In a town of 700 why is everyone inside at the same time watching the same show? What happened to all of the carrots? How did Lennis get so smart? Is this all just some elaborate hallucination resulting from the brain tumor pressing on her pineal area? Waid hasnít begun to answer any of these questions with this issue but they are nonetheless tantalizing and will surely have me returning to the third issue.

The art of Minck Oosterveer will be a factor in that as well. With this issue focused squarely on Cat and Adriana heís able to illustrate two visually interesting (and attractive) females for the length of the book. Interesting (and attractive) in this way: through their body language, their poses, postures, and clothing itís clear that these two characters are distinct and unique individuals. Cat is often guarded and standoffish with closed body language while Adriana is a femme (fatale it would seem) concealing her depth with exaggerated poses of sexuality. Itís, again, commendable work.

Final Word: For the second issue in a row Waid and Oosterveer have delivered a compelling story and I look forward to what they have to show for themselves next month.

If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at Monster In Your Veins



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