Our hero hospitalised means the spotlight shifts onto other characters in this sequel that’s not a sequel but a dark interlude.
A Dark Interlude #2 is a strange curio of a comic book given its narrative turn that involves our most unreliable of narrators who I must say, only becomes even more unreliable given that happens to Henry Henry early on in this issue. And, as such, much like the first issue of this new series – not a sequel – our focus is on the other characters who were once supportive and now take centre stage.
We learn that not all is as perfect in paradise as we had first though with golden boy – our Muse – and his mortal lover, Jill. But then, narratives are built on conflict and so it would make sense that at some point there would be a strain on this relationship. I just didn’t think it would come so soon. But, it’s certainly not the only conflict created in this issue to fuel the story.
We also have the newest of characters – Jill’s aunt, Rose Mary – who continues to take a leading role in this unfolding story as we learn that maybe Henry Henry’s assumptions of her in the first issue wasn’t too far off the mark. She too has her own conflict to deal with, albeit a more internal one based on the rash actions we learn about. As the reader, we get to spy on scenes other characters know nothing about. After all, there’d be no dramatic irony without an audience. Or in this case, a readership.
And then there’s the Fearscape, once again encroaching on our reality like some work of magic realism. Andrea Mutti and colour artists Vladimir Popov create two very distinct worlds through their collaborative art. Our world is often displayed in shades of more earthy colours, browns and muddier hues, while the Fearscape stand in contrast to this reality with its richer purples and other warmer, brighter colours. It would seem, much like the Muse, anything coming forth from the Farscape brings a blast of colour with them too.
With Henry Henry somewhat disposed, we are left with a more character-centred story. It’s a more emotionally fraught issue as the various cast congregate around Henry Henry’s hospital bed. But, it still continues to play with form and structure and in doing so, keeps the true direction of this narrative a mystery to readers.
With its fixation on other cast members and their own development, I can see why writer Ryan O’Sullivan insists that this is not a sequel. Even if it really is. But, it’ll be interesting to see where this series heads next, given the narrative, the characters involved and the sense that we shouldn’t believe everything we read or see. An enigmatic but engaging comic book.
A Dark Interlude #2 is out now from Vault Comics