Aftershock Comics released the second issue of Eleanor & The Egret written by John Layman and illustrated Sam Kieth this week, with colors by Ronda Pattison, and we walked further into the madcap, dreamy, and always atmospheric tale of a thief and her unusually powered Egret companion, Ellis.
The “prologue” that opens this comic is an explosion of Kieth and Pattison evoking the loveliest zoo animals they can muster, confirming the impression-based experience of the comic suggested by the opening issue. The comic is worth the read for the opening couple of pages alone.
But we do get considerable progression in the plot in this issue, having been introduced to Eleanor and Emmet in the previous issue, seeing them mid-art-heist, and recognizing that one Gilbert Belanger was determined to bring them to justice. In issue #2, we get to witness another very different heist by our human-avian team, though with a similar goal, and start to piece together the overall agenda that Eleanor is pursuing.
For reasons unknown, the art works of Anastasia Rue is a target for Eleanor and Ellis, not the material value of selling the famous paintings. In fact, Ellis unceremoniously munches on them since they need to get rid of the evidence.
Some of the team dynamics between these two also get more clarity in this issue. Based on the first issue, we might have assumed that Eleanor was the “boss” in this relationship, and the mostly silent Ellis simply followed along. But in this week’s issue, the tables seem turned. Eleanor, instead, is wary of her van-jacking plan, and it’s Ellis who coaches her through it, seeing it safely through with the aid of his own “doo”, well-timed excrement dropped from a great height.
This issue dive bombs us with Ellis’s personality–he’s chatty and weird and conversational. And makes silly jokes. Rather than Eleanor influencing him, it’s possible that he’s pushed her into more daring acts over their time together, particularly in this new effort to “erase” paintings by Rue.
We also meet Anastasia Rue in this issue, suggesting she’s a major character, and begin to get a glimpse of the slightly more creepy-crawly elements of the comic that may counter-balance the adorable and lovely, if snarky, animals and characters we’ve met so far.
Eleanor & The Egret is a book that goes off the map in terms of comics you’ll find on shelves today, particularly those being published in single-issue format. The wit and imagination behind Layman’s writing and Kieth and Pattison’s artwork are almost entirely unconstrained by formula or genre expectations. That makes for a very enjoyable experience and encourages you to appreciate the writing and art more than you might otherwise, because you’re constantly kept on your toes from panel to panel, with no definite idea what on earth is going to happen next.
Eleanor & The Egret #2 is in shops now. Eleanor & The Egret #3 arrives in shops on June 28th, 2017.