North Bend Chapter 2: Open House

Writer/Creator: Ryan Ellsworth
Illustrator: Robert Carey
Colorist: Ellie Wright
Letterer: Thomas Mauer

Review by Anelise Farris

North Bend Chapter 2: Open House is the continuation of Ryan Ellsworth’s story of experimental drugs and government conspiracies. Last issue, we were introduced to Ray — an inmate with no memory of his past — his lawyer Henry, and scientists working on a mysterious drug called Datura Voluntas.

While chapter 1 served to introduce us to the characters and some of the tensions going on within the narrative, North Bend Chapter 2: Open House begins to reveal the bigger story — think war, economic collapse, and revolution. Oh, and my favorite part, of course: experimental mind control drugs and unwilling participants.

This is a heavy story in terms of content. Questioning medical practices and ethics would be more than enough, but then you throw in everything else going on here, and it’s a lot. And yet, it absolutely works. I tend to get overwhelmed easily in busy or dense comics, but that doesn’t happen here, and I think that’s a huge credit to the creative team. The writing flows effortlessly, and the attention to character details over elaborate panel backgrounds, really allows the story to stay grounded on the people in North Bend.

Verdict: Buy it.

North Bend Chapter 2: Open House continues one of the more original sci-fi/political crime stories that I have read in awhile. With character-driven mystery and gorgeous art, this series is well worth your time and money. Issues #1 and #2 are available now, with the Kickstarter for issues #3 and #4 launching October 16, 2018. 

Anelise Farris
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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