As you might have guessed, the comics didn't arrive on Thursday. They did arrive today. Interestingly the tracking had said the package arrived at the post office in town Tuesday. Quite why it took three days to get across town, I don't know. Anyway, reviews tonight and reviews tomorrow, and then back on schedule next week.
Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #2, by Sarah Vaughn (writer), Lan Medina (illustrator), Phil Hester (breakdowns, chapter 4), Jose Villarubia (color artist), Janice Chang (letterer) - I like the layout on that cover. Adelia's face with Boston looming angrily behind and above, and Bernice's face barely visible, both in front of Adelia, but behind Boston, just in different dimensions. And then whatever is there along the spine, the tentacles and eyes in that red and black.
Boston meets Adelia, the spirit that haunts Glencrest. Her connection to the dark shadow is uncertain, as is what precisely happened to her. It involved a knife, though. The two emerge from wherever they were and find Bernice has been scouring the house for clues of what happened. Without much success, so she goes into town to check the library. Which only tells her Adelia went missing the night she and her husband moved into Glencrest. She returns to Glencrest to find Nathan ecstatic that he's finished his book, so they can go back to the city. And he wants to marry her, which seems to cause a freakout in Adelia and she may actually be the dark shadow as well.
Vaughn also includes a lot about Boston Brand recognizing perhaps he isn't as unique a case as he thinks, there's other people with similar experiences. I thought the idea that Brand can't remember how long ago he died was significant. Was it the result of his brief merging with Adelia, who also lacks memories, or a more general statement about spirits? Bernice mentioned something to herself about people fixating on what might have been, and letting it take deep root inside them. Are ghosts so locked in on the possibility if only they hadn't died as they did that it keeps them rooted in one place, and makes them lose track of the truth? It applies to the living as well, of course. I know I struggle not to get stuck looking backward, sometimes all I can do is say to myself, "That's over, you chose something else, deal with it." Hard telling how well that works from the inside. Also I wonder what Bernice's "If only. . ." is, or maybe what it will be, pending her decision on Nathan's proposal.
Medina's art comes up a bit short when it needs to depict more extreme amounts of motion of energy. When the shadow emerges at the end of the issue, and everything is flying about, the imagery doesn't have much impact. The characters' body language is more restrained than it feels it ought to be; I get the sense of what is supposed to be conveyed, but I feel I'm filling in the gaps a lot. Also, there's a point where Adelia and Boston can't follow Bernice into her room because of a barrier, but as Boston explains this, we clearly see him sticking his fingers through the barrier. If there was a sense he was in pain, or struggling to do so, that would be one thing, but that isn't the case. It looks more as though the barrier was meant to keep them out, but they're in the process of discovering it doesn't work.
That said, Medina does quite well in giving that sense of Boston and Adelia as spirits. The times we see them floating in a doorway or window, watching quietly evokes some image I associate with spirits. Approaching a spooky house and seeing someone in an upstairs window watching you, but not finding them when you go inside, that kind of thing. There was a book I reread in elementary school, Christina's Ghost, it used that I think. I loved that book back in the day. It and The Two Moons of Mars, I read those multiple times up through 6th grade. Back to Medina's art. Deadman is drawn in such a way that even when he's close to another character, there's some sort of distance. There's a disconnect, even with another ghost. Typically floating above and behind Bernice. The way his face goes into shadow when Adelia shouts out that she was murdered, we know he suffered the same fate, but it's curious Medina opts to obscure his face, rather than depict sorrow, or some sense of commiseration.
When Bernice and Sam return to Glencrest, the sun is setting behind it somewhere, with yellow near the horizon, and red higher up. Inside the house, when Nathan proposes, there's a window behind them, and there's still a bit of red and yellow near the top, but blues and greens, cooler colors lower. The red is up where Adelia is floating, the blue and green down with Nathan and Bernice. Presaging Adelia's strong reaction, and some level of indifference on Bernice's part?
Now I have to wait until next month for the conclusion. I don't know if Vaughn and Medina will stick the landing, whatever that would look like, but I'm cautiously optimistic.