Canto #2 Greatly Expands Its Mythos, Revealing The Full Scale Of This Fantasy World

by James Ferguson

Canto’s journey has just begun and he’s already facing all sorts of dangers. He has a noble cause driving him so monsters big and small won’t slow him down. If he doesn’t find his love’s heart, she’ll die and he can’t let that happen.

We were introduced to Canto and the clockwork knights in the first issue, hooking us on artist Drew Zucker’s designs for the characters. This issue blows out the world and shows us how big it is and what kind of adventure we’re in for. This also shows just how small and vulnerable Canto is when compared to some of the obstacles he faces. How can a little guy like this possibly stand up to such ferocious beasts?
That right there is the secret sauce of Canto and why it’s a great read for all ages. This small knight is an underdog and we can all get behind that idea. He’s standing up against an oppressive regime and fighting for the love of his life. That’s pretty noble. Since he’s short in stature, kids can relate to him and feel empowered to stand up for themselves and others. Writer David M. Booher has crafted a terrific mix of feelings here.

Zucker really outdoes himself with Canto #2. The world of Arcana is lush and plentiful. Canto and the other knights have only seen a small fraction of it, so there’s a part of this hero that wants to take in all of this wonder. We’re right along with him witnessing some gorgeous landscapes, amplified by Vittorio Astone’s beautiful colors. There’s a nice juxtaposition between the dark, earthy look of Canto and the vibrant, lively appearance of the mountains and forest. It shows how he hasn’t really been living while he’s been in captivity.
Since Cantos’ face is hidden behind a mask, it can be tough to understand his emotions some times. Fortunately, Zucker leaves his eyes exposed, expressing his feelings through them. There is an immense sadness in those eyes, like they’ve seen horrors that no one should witness, let alone at a young age. This somber nature comes through even in his more heroic moments.

Canto comes across all sorts of monsters, but the one at the end of this issue is a sight to behold. Letterer Deron Bennett adds a great touch to this creature’s speech with purple-outlined word balloons connected by wispy tails, as if the dialogue is flowing up like a spectre.

Canto is a beautiful and occasionally heartbreaking tale of adventure. The title character is fighting against a monumental amount of opposition with terror lurking around every turn. Through it all he manages to hold his head high and continue to soldier on. It’s an inspiring story that has captivated me completely.
Canto #2 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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