Whatever you do, do not call Poltergeist a “little runt.” Otherwise, you’ll find yourself dangling, perhaps lifelessly, from a tall tree branch. If it happens, you can only hope the branch is sturdy enough to hold your weight until you can wake up. Of course, that’s if you’re lucky enough to still be alive.
Writer Matt Hardy and artist Edward Bentley are back with the second chapter of Cadavers. This comic book follows another member of the Cadavers group, after following the perspective of Doppelganger through chapter one, as the group attempts to find and eliminate Marckus North. The enemy, North, is a political nightmare who wants to destroy Spectrals – those like the Cadaver members who are from another world but have found themselves stuck in this realm. They’re seen, or made to be seen, as a plague, which explains the group’s desire to get rid of North. As this story unravels, the careful plan of the Cadavers seems more like a stenciled outline on a bar napkin than a clear-cut blueprint created by an organized team, and that could very well be for the simple fact of having Poltergeist on the team.
His very small stature makes him adept to blending in, either disguised in a baby carriage or dressed in a long trench coat, with a hat, and very tall somehow. Without these tactics, he stands out like any Gremlin-like creature might, with large, pointy teeth, long ears, and eyes filled with blackness like those you might expect to find in the underworld. Oh, he’s also purple and covered with red spots. Bentley includes black-and-white illustrated pages to highlight flashback moments, while emphasizing Polty’s red-spotted rage with golden colored backgrounds. Back to the plan, and the “outline on a bar napkin” mentality – that’s where Poltergeist’s temper comes in.
Hardy gives the main character of this chapter a wide range of emotion. At times, Hardy presents the purple Cadaver quite meekly, feeling misunderstood, underappreciated, and alone. The other times, the anger bursts onto the scene in the blink of an eye – the wrong time when a team is trying to coordinate a murder – hence, the plan on a napkin that can be ripped to shreds at any time. Understanding this emotion, and the resulting chain of events, helps to explain what happened in issue one, or at least what went wrong.
Hardy also expands your view on North, despite not having many illustrations focused on him. During the course of Poltergeist’s misadventures, small text boxes exude North’s voice, increasing the depth of his maliciousness. The Cadavers have underestimated their foe. His intelligence, resources, and alliances have left the team scattered, and Poltergeist will have to come face to face with him to understand if his superhuman strength and speed will be enough to complete their deadly plan.