What was hidden has finally emerged, as I am finding it much easier to follow this second issue of Underwinter than the first. I needed to re-read the first issue a couple times to really grasp at what was happening in the plot. This issue felt a lot clearer, and I only needed a single read through to grasp what was going on.
The second issue was a lot of set up after the first, which was meant to be the hook with the big twist ending. Each section follows a different character and how their lives have been affected since that first performance in the manor. It all leads up to the moment the second performance is about to start, but we’ll be waiting on issue three to see how it goes.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ray Fawkes is one of the most brilliant writer/artist combos in comics (for haters, check out One Soul and The People Inside), and he is always an innovator in storytelling. When reading Underwinter issue two, I feel captivated by the overall mood Fawkes’ prose and art present. You find yourself entranced by the beautiful watercolors while the underlying red pencil reminds you of the menace that hides underneath the beauty. It is incredible how he uses one page spreads to convey a multitude of ideas; because the majority of the art is about theme and mood instead of straight plot. I believe it enhances the horror element in this way- talking directly to your right brain while leaving your left with little to grasp onto. Fawkes presents a book full of just as much existential horror as physical threats and it stays with you long after putting it down.
I do have one complaint for the book. I know, I know, I’m clearly in love so why sweat the small stuff?! But it’s the lettering, guys. Now, it’s not that the lettering is bad, but it’s nothing special, and that’s the problem. On a book like this, that is pure ambiance, you would expect the text to blend in seamlessly with the experience. But nope. It’s just plain old standard comics lettering. I can understand the urge to not have the lettering distract from the work or come off as cheesy, but it’s a lot more distracting by being so normal. I just want some cool lettering; is that too much to ask?!
4.5 imperceptible horrors out of 5.