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COMIC PREVIEW: I STILL have no freakin' idea what's going on in Decorum #2, but it's not a bad thing

Decorum Issue 2 Cover 1. Published by Image Comics.

Written by Johnathan Hickman, Art by Mike Huddleston.

The long, cold, boring wait is over. Decorum #2 is finally here! And it totally answers all the question and explains all the craziness from the first issue!

Just kidding. If anything, this issue is even more confusing and bizarre than last time. But I just can't bring myself to see that as a bad thing. I'll start with the parts that are easy to explain. Our favourite etiquette-obsessive assassin Imogen is back! And she still has young courier Neha, somewhat unwillingly, in her company. But this is no simple transaction; after the events in Decorum #1, Imogen has a very simple proposal for Neha. Journey with her, to the school that made Imogen the stone cold badass she is. If she likes what she sees, Neha will be allowed to join up and be trained there. If she doesn't... We'll leave that up to your imagination.

Imogen is married to Prince Charles. Fun fact.

That's just about where the coherent story ends, though.

This is a thing you will see in this issue. At some point we may understand what it is, but that point is not now.

From them on, we're treated to the usual combination of plot seeding, mind bending art, full pages of text and incredibly confusing world building that has become the hallmark of Hickman's Dawn of X books, over at Marvel.

Now, this is not to say that I didn't enjoy this book. Quite the contrary. The parts that made sense were few and far between, but they were great.

And the parts in between, that were akin to some kind of Sci-Fi nightmare, were as intriguing as they were impossible to understand.

No idea, sorry. But it's pretty!

But here's the thing. Reading issue one and two back to back, and thinking about what he did in Dawn of X... I think I'm beginning to see where he's going with this. I don't understand it all, just yet. But I think I'm beginning to see a loose framework.

And I've got to say, I'm excited. Hickman has proven time and again that he's great at this kind of long form storytelling. He throws a bunch of weird nonsense at you right away and it's all a little overwhelming. But by the time he's done telling his story, it has all fallen into place, and suddenly you see what he's been trying to do.

Reading Decorum #2, that is what I'm starting to see. Things don't make sense. At all. But I can see the start of sense beginning to emerge from the chaos.

Overall, this was another very strong issue. Hickman never fails to amaze and confuse when he's let off the rein to do as he pleases. Decorum is no different: bold ideas, strong characters, and solid world building make for an enjoyable—if confusing—read. Huddleston's art continues to be achingly beautiful, bouncing from style to style, from hyper-realism to broken abstract, often in the same page. The use of colour continues to delight. Going from stark black and white pages, with nothing but the occasional splash of red, to riotous full colour double-page splashes with hundreds of tiny details to lose yourself in.

I mean... Just LOOK AT IT.

I have no idea where this series is going to go. But I'll tell you this... I'll be there, no matter where we end up.

Decorum #2 from Image Comics is available June 10, 2020.

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