‘Spy Island #2:’ Comic Book Review

I reviewed the first issue of Spy Island way back in March before everything shut down. I’m incredibly happy that it’s back.

The title of this series also works as a sort of elevator pitch: There are a bunch of spies on an island in the Bermuda Triangle. That alone would make we want to watch the TV series, but this is so… much… more.

Yes, there are spies and they inhabit this island. The spy who we become closest to, as close as a spy will let us get, is Nora. Nothing she says is straight forward, and yet nothing she says is wasted. Her character’s intelligence is so incredibly offhanded, that she throws it away like the best seasons of The Simpsons throw away jokes. (That is a compliment!) And she doesn’t care what you think. She is witty, clever, and my guess is dangerous. She is the flipside to all the swinging male spies of the '50s and '60s, as she shags a fellow British spy without giving him anything that he actually wants.

That would be enough to make this comic exceptional. Also on, or perhaps just off this island, are mermaids. And they are nasty. Miternique, Cain, and McCall aren’t treating these like your typical, fantastic creatures. No, they are wild animals. Like a honey badger and a shark mashed up. There is one particular image in this issue that will genuinely stick with me, as I have some level of reverence (ahem*fear*ahem) for the ocean, and what could possibly come out of it. It is not a welcoming image; it inspires me to get in the ocean about as much as watching the girl in Jaws get dragged back and forth through the water. Also… krakens!

But something else has arrived on the island: Nora’s sister. Why is she there? What is she looking for? What is Nora there for? So many wonderful questions, so much flashy wit, not only in the telling but in the visual elements. This series is so visually transcendent, combining different styles of graphic design along with the beautiful artwork.

Let Spy Island be your next quarantine read.

Creative team: Chelsea Cain and Lia Miternique (creators), Chelsea Cain (writer), Lia Mitirnique (cover, designer, supplemental art), Elise McCall (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) Stella Greenvoss (supplemental art)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

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