Writing: Kieron Gillen and Jim Rossignol, Art: Jeff Stokely, Colours: Tamra Bonvillian.
I didn’t let my disappointment of the first issue put me off continuing with this miniseries. We open with our “hero” Otto waking up after being shot with many tranquilizer darts. He then talks to professor Hades about what happened, before remembering that the “love of his life” was arrested for being boring. So it’s his job to formulate a plan to set her free.
Unlike the last issue, there seems to be more of a cohesive narrative within this issue. A simple heist structure. Although as you can tell from the title and the last issue, nothing is ever simple with this series. Due to the inclusion of the narrative we get more of a sense of the characters. It doesn’t feel like one wacky panel followed by another. That’s not to say that it’s still not as ludicrous as the last issue. It has its crazy moments, but they don’t feel as over the top because we have a sense of direction for story and character.
Where the first issue had a few different styles of art, this issue seems to have calmed down a little. There is still a few panels that have a manga quality to them, but overall there is more of a coherent style to the book now, which makes me think that Stokely was playing with aesthetics originally to find his feet.
The colours are just as cartoony as the first issue; they complement the art really well. Tamra Bonvillian has done a fantastic job to create a palette that feels grounded and yet wacky at the same time.
Overall I would say this is better than issue #1, although I still have reservations about how crazy this book is. I think I understand that Gillen is using this book as a cleanse from the seriousness and immense world-building of his previous book Die to get a little crazy and clear his head. Although for me, when I read the sentence “light coating of semen from a death dealing caterpillar,” I think the book has gone too far into crazy territory.
Despite the book not living up to my rather high expectations for Gillen, I’m still going to see it through to the end. I’m invested in it enough now to make me question what’s going to happen. So for that reason I would say give this a go. It may or may not be for you, but if only a single issue has turned me from not being a fan, to...well I’m partially invested in the story now. Then I think there can be something here for anyone. If it’s a palette cleanser from an intense book you’re reading, or you like the crazy adventures that this medium can produce occasionally, then you might just get a kick out of Ludocrats.
Ludocrats #2 from Image Comics is available to buy on 17th June from your local comic shop, or from comixology