‘Speak No Evil #2:’ Comic Book Review

Gray Bear Comics has just released issue two of Speak No Evil, where the story picks up with brothers Silas and Edwin in the basement of a derelict cabin in upstate New York. Unbeknownst to them, the cobwebbed box they just opened is the same one that Nicolas Tesla packed all of his equipment into after an experiment went terribly wrong. The boys inspect the various items including goggles, a plasma blaster, and a phonograph, on which they played a couple of recorded cylinders. The gang chasing the siblings show up, but so does….well, you’ll just have to read issue two to find out. Like the old-time serials that were shown in cinemas prior to the feature film, a six-page short story “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” (Chapter 2) follows up the main story and provides an interlude tale of a con artist. And, a second episode of “Speak Up, Chuck” is a flashback of Tesla building the plasma gun and the teenage Charles proving incapable of catching a goat for an experiment.

Writers Justin Corbett (Comical Podcast) and George Tripsas (Metal Geeks Podcast) have returned for issue two, as well as the rest of the creative team that includes artist Samir Simao, colorist Chunlin Zhao, lettering by Warrior Innkeeper Creative, and Meredith Nudo as editor. (Read issue one review here posted last October 2016.) As with the first issue, the unfolding story is well structured and smooth, and the bantering dialogue between the siblings continues to entertain. The boyish charm and playfulness make the boys such likable characters; the writers prove their skill at creating realistic, yet flawed, unlikely heroes – they are rapscallions after all – that cause readers to care about them and want to follow their story. The writers delivered a solid story and the illustrations did not disappoint.

Simao and Zhao complement and bring out the best in each other. Simao’s vision for layout of panels and composition of the characters is exceptional. The reader’s eyes are drawn in by the simple things, such as facial expressions and glances between Silas and Edwin, as well as drawing subtly to important story elements with an expert touch. For example, the fuses begin to light up on the plasma gun, one by one, like a countdown to the impending explosive action to come. The two-page spread works well and lends to the fast pace nature of the action. Zhao, as colorist, makes Simao’s illustrations pop, especially when the plasma gun is engaged. The blood drips and oozes and contrasts nicely with the abundance of browns, beige, and subtle undertones of green.

Warrior Innkeeper Creative does a fine job with the lettering. The speech balloons are well placed and follow the natural path of the eye across the page. The balloons do not crowd nor obstruct the action. The lettering is clean, concise, and easy to read; it doesn’t draw attention to itself, but instead, complements without getting in the way. The word art (sound effects) is creative, such as the chanting text that is heard from the phonograph or the sound of the plasma gun. Lastly, Nudo’s editing results in an enjoyable reading experience that is not marred by spelling and/or grammatical errors that, if present, can derail a reader’s attention.

The only negative was the waiting period between issues, which hopefully will be shorter with issue three. That said, Speak No Evil has hit its stride, and it feels as though it is not about to let up. The heroes of the story – Silas and Edwin – balance with the supernatural encounter they stumbled into while at the cabin. The writing and editing provide a fascinating story, while the art, color, and lettering deliver an exciting and entertaining visual experience. With the right amount of horror and dashes of humor, Speak No Evil is an amusing and enchanting read – one not to be missed.

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