What do you get when you mix a band road trip, a lesbian romance and some Civil War-era zombies? Apparently a lot of exposition and seemingly unconnected plotlines. Luckily some strong artwork helps to salvage the story.
Swamp Dogs: House of Crows #2 is your typical road trip, lesbian romance, zombie horror. And yet weaving those seemingly diverse plotlines together leaves readers with the feeling that they are perusing a few different stories with little connecting tissue (save some sinews being ripped out of a corpse by some ravenous crows).
Part of the story follows bandmates Josh, Roy, Matt and Kim as they head to their next gig in, you guessed it, the band’s van. Writers JM Brandt and Theo Prasidis create amusing enough characters, though there is little-to-no payoff for this story thread, save an eerie encounter with some Children of the Corn and a partially dissected alligator.
That story is intertwined with lovers Ayana and Violet who inexplicably decide to hook up in a swamp. After a crow interrupts their tryst, the pair finds a haunted house. We know it’s a haunted house because they tell us it is. And yet they choose to go in anyway. Enter – albeit briefly – our zombie friends.
If these characters were more established, this issue would be easier to follow. Instead, the creators are hoping that readers will stick around for future installments to understand how everything fits together. That task is made easier with Kewber Baal’s artwork. His characters come alive and are easily differentiated. His depictions of the swamps, the haunted house and the zombies that inhabit them are eye-popping at times (pun intended).
Second issues can be hard to pull off as writers struggle to advance the story through a fair bit of exposition. And this #2 suffers considerably from that challenge. Hopefully the creators can quickly sharpen their focus in future installments and tell a more focused story with characters we’re rooting for – or against.
Swamp Dogs: House of Crows #2 will be available for purchase on March 2, 2022.