In Hazard Part 2: Gone, Niko finds his way to South America while his father, the enigmatic Major, has been taken hostage by members of O.I.P., the secret organization that wants Niko. Yet the reader soon learns that O.I.P. isn’t the only group that wants Niko. Thrown into the mix is Thiago, another mystery man who knows Niko’s father. With his new guide in his suddenly crazy world, Niko has to stay on the run to keep one step ahead of those after him.
Hazard is the brainchild of Victor Dean Hampstead, a self-confessed comic book fan who one day had an idea for a comic. It’s nice to see a fan follow through on his dream, and it paid off for him. Hazard is a fast-paced story that keeps the reader engrossed in mystery as the action takes them from panel to panel. The characters are developed just enough so one can get the gist of who they are without revealing too much information that makes it obvious where the comic is going. That question of “What in the world is going on?” always lingering in the background will keep the reader coming back issue after issue just to get to the end of the mystery. If there’s any criticism of the writing to be had, it’s that, on occasion, the story does jump just a tad, making the reader find the need to reread a couple of panels to see what they missed. The comic might have benefited from one last look by an editor in some instances, as well. But, these are small things to dwell on and don’t necessarily detract from the experience.
The art (by Lowdy) is more sketch like than other comics. It has that sketch pad quality to it, but it works rather well. I didn’t find myself missing color in the gritty, black-and-white images. Facial expressions come through to give depth to the characters. The background is done up just enough to give the reader a sense of location without overwhelming them with unnecessary clutter. The art complements the story in the manner that it doesn’t get in the way of the story, which is important when one has a story that barrels ahead and doesn’t often slow down.
I believe many fans will find Hazard Part 2: Gone to be a new addiction, both in story and art. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing where this journey takes Niko next and finally answer that nagging question: “What in the world is going on?”