20th Century Men #2 ADVANCE REVIEW: tight script, mesmerising art & colors in another stunning issue
Written by: Deniz Camp, Art by: S. Morian, Letters by: Aditya Bidikar.
The American president will clearly stop at nothing to win. “I don’t let respect get in the way of results” he says, declaring that the outcome justifies the means. Meanwhile, Comrade Patonov (the cyborg soldier) debates a Brit known as the Lion, responsible for many civil unrests and assassinations, all while under the Crown's supervision. The Brit is a dangerous man with heightened abilities and could lead to trouble for Patonov. All while he waits for word from Azra, the young Afghan woman he has befriended.
Last month, this was a surprising new book for me as I wasn’t expecting such a hard-hitting series. I loved how pop culture was mixed with the real world events, and I was intrigued going forward. We have no change to that here in issue #2. The biggest difference however, was that from first look this could be all playing out in the same time, unlike the last issue where we had multiple timelines.
One of the first thing I noticed about this issue was how long it was. At 44 pages, it's 5 pages longer than the first issue. This is something that I’ve spoken about before, about how much people get for their money. For me personally, I don’t mind paying extra for a quality product. Here we are getting just that, but for the same price as a standard book. At a time when I’ve been so critical about comic industry standards, it’s refreshing to see something that’s giving more to the customer.
Another thing that was apparent with the first issue, was the quality of writing. None of the people in this story are wholesome or entirely good and at no point is that better reflected than when Patonov talks about the growing poppy trade. He explains how the harvesting of the seeds were being used by the U.S. to make heroin, it’s then sold, which means the money goes back into waging wars. So by him killing the U.S. fighter pilots, he’s actually saving lives. Although does he actually feel this way, or is this just a coping mechanism for a soldier who has been at war for too long?
Another striking aspect to this book was its use of prose. Six pages are taken up by almost full pages of text. The interesting thing is that to start, the story being told seems random, but by the end of the book it makes complete sense and it’s just a different way to frame the story. It’s also very intense with its delivery, making this book just as hard -hitting as the first issue.
The art in this issue was very similar to the last. Great looking, and definitely had some stand-outs. The panels on the prose pages were astonishing. The two stand-outs were the ones I’ve picked and shown above: one panel discussed the Vietnam War, with striking colours, and depicts the planes dropping Agent Orange. With my love of landscapes, this just looked hauntingly beautiful. The other panel was a somber man sitting on a chair after exhausting all his options to find his son. We felt his struggle every step of the way with him, and I felt the same kind of tiredness after reading his part of the story. The grey tones just add to the ambiance of it.
Honestly, another stunning issue from the team. The script is tight and almost flawless. The art is just mesmerising, and I’m loving this series. Nothing is black and white, and that’s part of why I love it. Added with a great story and the use of pop culture in history.
A solid 4 POPs out of 5 and I’m looking forward to the next issue.
20th Century Men issue 2 will be released by Image Comics on 21st September from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.