The second issue of the Australian series, The Crayfish, doesn’t exactly pick up where the previous volume left off. Time has clearly passed, and Norman continues to defend his home against outside forces. The second issue features a mystery about unauthorized mining at a local scheelite quarry. The local superhero wouldn’t normally get involved, but his younger brother’s school friend, Rowan Cooke, seems determined to get himself into serious trouble for a scoop. Norman promises to keep an eye on the plucky journalist and uncovers an unsettling secret at the excavation site. Laird also includes a local folktale from King Island called “The Lady in the Water” which dates back to the 1920s. It doesn’t seem to completely fit with the rest of the story in this issue, although he may be the driver who picks Norman and Rowan up at the end of the mine adventure.
I didn’t enjoy volume two of The Crayfish as much as volume one, simply because it felt a little more “monster of the day” than Norman’s original story. There wasn’t a clear connection to the events in the first issue, and Olive, one of the highlights in my opinion, is sadly missing from the second part of the story. Norman is still genuinely a good guy who cares about his fellow King Islanders though, and the care he takes to protect Rowan, a young man he barely knows, shows a depth of character missing from many capes. I also still adore how much our hero cares for his horse, even if expecting the animal to wait in the face of rainstorms, dynamite, and other scary instances made me laugh. The creators of The Crayfish also show remarkable equal opportunity villainy with the second issue of the series. The first story focused on illegal Japanese whalers, which was realistic but also worried that the focus would be on racially other bad guys; however, the evil doers at the mine are French, which shows that anyone who isn’t a native King Islander can be suspect in this home-grown tale!
Adam Rose continues to provide beautifully detailed pencil work for The Crayfish, which is quite a challenge with the various weather conditions and locations in issue two. The difficulty of drawing the sea in a rainstorm with just black and white is not lost on me, and the greyscale details of the mine are quite amazing. I also enjoy the soft, watercolory style of the backgrounds and how they contrast against the sharper lines of the characters and foregrounds. It really makes the characters and dialogue bubbles pop off the page.
Overall, The Crayfish #2 is still a wonderful addition to the world of international superhero comics. I enjoyed the first issue more, but the charm of this second volume is not lost on me. If you enjoy superhero stories with a slightly different angle, give this a try! In fact, spoil yourself and get both volumes to enjoy all of Norman’s adventures in one read.
4 Random Compliments for Norman’s Head Gear out of 5