A broken home, a new school, complete with bullies, and a DEATH RAY? This isn’t a day in the life of a typical 10-year-old as Major Spoilers reviews Raygun #2.
Previously in Raygun: A 10-year-old by the name of Matthew is sent by his deadbeat mom to live with his estranged father. If that’s not enough to deal with, the bullies at his new school are. But things take an interesting turn when Matthew stumbles upon Nikola Tesla’s Death Ray.
A RUDE AWAKENING
The issue begins with Matthew stumbling into bed after his first big adventure. After falling face first into his pillow, he’s quickly reminded by his father that it’s time for school. The school scene further establishes Matthew’s struggle to adapt to his new surroundings. The writer does a great job at reminding you what it feels like to be the new kid in town. We also briefly see the friendship being established between Matthew and Rubert, as well. The story takes a sharp 180 as we see a side story involving the US Government as they frantically try to recover what they describe as “a one-man apocalypse machine,” which plants some seeds for later on in the story arc.
What I enjoyed most was the development of the relationship between Matthew and his father. Despite barely knowing each other, they take some pretty big steps in establishing what really feels like a father-son relationship. We even get a history lesson that shows us how Nikola Tesla plays into the main plot. In the final pages, we learn that the death ray has some “Mjolnir-esque” qualities. It was hinted earlier that the ray only fires for Matthew, but we also see that the ray responds to his call after it’s taken from him by a gang of thugs.
DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU’RE BLACK AND WHITE
When working in black and white, the artist has the difficult task of trying to display all sorts of emotions normally conveyed through their palette choice. That being said, I give just as much credit to Molina on pencils as I do to Lopez on inks as they do a great job using strong facial expressions, solid blacks and expert shading to provide superb visual storytelling. There are definite manga influences but nothing that would feel foreign to Western readers. One of my pet peeves is that there are some minor proportion issues. Also, when we meet Autry, the text on his shirt appears to be mirrored from one panel to the next, which I find distracting.
BOTTOM LINE: A WIN FOR THE LITTLE GUY
This is a book I took a chance on. I’m not too familiar with Alterna Comics and had no prior experience with Gregory Schoen or Alonso Molina. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Superhero junkie but this was a refreshing read, far different than anything normally on my pull list. The black and white may not be for everyone but if a sci-fi/historical coming-of-age tale is your sort of thing, I definitely recommend giving this book a shot.