Join The System Or Die In Relay #2

by Brendan M. Allen

The one wish of the Relay has been fulfilled, but what secrets does Hank Donaldson’s world hide? And just how far will the mysterious interstellar savior go to keep them?

This is a hard book not to spoil, but I’ll do my very best. If you read Relay #1, you know that the ultimate goal of this futuristic monoculture is to find Donaldson’s world. Since the publisher’s blurb says the one wish of the Relay has been fulfilled in Relay #2, I’ll go in with the assumption that part is fair game.

Donaldson’s world has indeed been located. The big question is, how will Donaldson himself (assuming he’s still kicking after several hundred years) react to the progression of the movement he started? It doesn’t take much to figure out whom the creative team is modelling ole Hank after. It’s mentioned at least twice in the dialogue.

Zac Thompson throws multiple levels of twists at the reader in this chapter. There are several points in issue two that had me thinking too many loose ends were tied up too quickly, before realizing further in that I had been set up. Nothing’s that easy. For every revelation here, a dozen questions beg answering.

The artwork takes an interesting turn at this stage. After the initial touchdown on Donaldson’s world, the sci-fi tech gets left behind, making way for lush landscapes, simple rural streets, and farms. Andy Clarke delivers a multifaceted, idyllic look at Donaldson’s world, but slips in a few clues that something isn’t quite right with this place.

I’m still not entirely sure what is happening in this book, and that makes me really, really want to pick up the next chapter. Aside from the obvious allegorical notes, there are some complex and topical issues being explored here. The final reveal will make you go back and pick apart each interaction to see what details you missed.

Relay #2, published by AfterShock Comics, released 08 August 2018. Written by Zac Thompson, art/cover by Andy Clarke, story by Zac Thomson, Eric Bromberg, and Donny Cates, color by Jose Villarrubia, letters by Charles Pritchett, logo by Jared K. Fletcher.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: