Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Rhoald Marcellius
Colorist: Sakti Yuwono
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Evan Maroun
After being underwhelmed by the first issue of Bonehead, I was a bit concerned about the impression it was making. It seemed lacking in a few storytelling aspects and felt unusually shallow for a debut issue where there should be a lot of intros going on– not only to its world but to the characters. The second issue picks up right where the first left off, with an authoritative figure from the first issue confronting our hero ’56’, as they officially coin him, and Aleph, his scientist overseer.
Right from the first page, I could tell this was going to be a vast improvement. Just within the first couple pages, we get more to latch onto than in the entirety of the first issue. We get names, personality, and even some noteworthy character depth. So…why wasn’t this the actual first issue? It seems like Hill wanted the reader to come in with a lot of questions lingering from the first, which I certainly did, but mostly from a lack of understanding and coldness towards its characters, rather from any real sense of intrigue. Fortunately, here, he makes up for the shortcomings of the last one with a consistent and well-structured issue.
We know going into this issue that Aleph provides some kind of technical and objective assistance to our protagonist ’56’, the mute red Bonehead. They have a goal, and he guides the way. That relationship is better explained here, with an added layer of mystery that actually works. I can already sense a flashback coming up, giving us further details into the protagonists past. Hill also ties another character to Aleph, giving a voice (and undoubtedly the most depth) to a character who I thought was just going to be a generic villain.
I only have a few small problems this time around, with a rather uninspired drug name titled “Euphoria” stemming from the feeling it creates. Really? That’s like saying you need to go pick up an eighth of “Hungry” at the local dispensary. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like it will play a big part in the story, unlike the other drug mentioned in this issue, called Vivid. Which is killing and paralyzing people amongst other terrible things. The drug seems to be consumed through digital means with a panel showing the users with some type of VR helmet on and the drug itself looking like a computer chip. That could be an interesting avenue to explore in future issues. The other small issue is something I mentioned previously in this series’ debut. One of the biggest tasks for Hill is going to be making us care for a character who only really communicates via symbols. The issue was split up and his time was effective, so it wasn’t a big problem here, but going forward, we’ll just have to see.
Marcellius and Yuwono come at this issue with another round of eye-catching visuals. The focus of each panel popping with colors that are purposefully contrasted and saturated. This makes you really appreciate the stellar character designs on display. The panels themselves are always communicated in sleek ways, opting for more clever arrangements and positioning when the actions require it, much like a well-edited film. The cyber blue hue of the city is highlighted once again here, establishing a sense of sterilized identity and order to this city that our underground heroes aim to free.
Buy it! Hill and Marcellius come through with an issue that by all accounts should have been their leading one– with some added depth to the characters, and a narrative that finally gets moving on more than it’s surface. If they keep it up, we’ll have a fun book on our hands.