James survived a monster attack. Erica Slaughter has arrived to hunt the monster down. How can she track a monster that no one sees or believes in? Find out in Something is Killing the Children #2!
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Andworld Design
Editor: Eric Harburn
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16, 2019
Previously in Something is Killing the Children: James is with a group of friends at a sleepover who are doing things to try to scare each other, as you do. James tells a story about hearing a noise and seeing a huge, monstrous thing in his yard. Then they go out to the Ravine. We learn little by little, afterward, as James talks to the police and to a school official, that the boys who went to the Ravine that night were all killed – except James. He becomes even more of a pariah in school. Then Erica arrives in town. We saw a flashback of her briefly, in the aftermath of a bloody fight, apparently with a monster. In Archer’s Peak, she catches up with James and tries to get him to open up about what happened that night.
TOWN OF A THOUSAND MISERIES
It’s another day in Archer’s Peak as Something is Killing the Children #2 opens. An alarm clock goes off, waking up a young man (Tommy) who looks like he hasn’t been sleeping much. His mother looks equally worn out and has been smoking like mad. Tommy’s sister is missing. Her body hasn’t been found, but is there any hope that she’s alive? They look desperate. As Tommy heads off to work, he hears a strange noise and turns around. He doesn’t see anything, but we see the monster looming right over his car.
Erica and James go to a restaurant where it so happens that Tommy is the manager. Erica is looking to basically rent a booth as a base of operations – paying $50 a day as well as buying food. She likes the big tables they have. She unpacks copies of fliers about missing kids, a large map, and a stuffed octopus (which James is not allowed to ask about). Erica plots the locations of where kids were killed and where they lived. The server on shift recognizes James and mentions this to Tommy, as well as that he’s supposed to be in school. Tommy goes over to their table and gets there just as Erica is asking about Sophie, who happens to be Tommy’s missing sister. Tommy, already tense, starts getting suspicious.
Erica sends James out with her backpack. Already awkward, he drops the backpack and a knife spills out. They have to leave, and the server makes some comment about James being in a Satanic cult and killing people. Tommy also calls the sheriff about them.
Erica sends James home and goes to her hotel room where she unpacks, of all things, the stuffed octopus. She gives it a sort of status report. Since there are kids missing with no corresponding bodies, she suspects the monster may be stashing them as food. She needs to know what kind of monster this might be and asks the octopus to think about this. And it speaks back to her.
I really like the contrast between the down-to-earth realism in how most people in town react, and the moments that are highly supernatural. We’ve not seen much about Erica, but the little bit we’ve seen, she is obviously exceptional.
ANOTHER DIFFICULT DAY
Something is Killing the Children #2 is a bleak book in many respects, and we feel it right from the opening. At first, Tommy could be any young man oversleeping, but when he gets up, he has dark circles under his eyes, and then we see his mom who looks as though she’s been crying. These emotional touches are heart-wrenching, and the panels do some interesting framing that captures the isolation of despair.
We don’t see a lot of the supernatural in this particular issue, but where we do see it, it makes an impression. The monster that looms over Tommy looks dreamlike, almost somewhat abstract, but what’s really horrifying is that Tommy plainly cannot see it and he has no reaction to it whatsoever. Later, we get a page of flashbacks from Erica. She is so cool and collected, although her green eyes and heavy eye makeup give her an otherworldly look. But we see her memories of fighting monsters, and she is all in, and it looks like awful work. Setting that in a world where most people simply cannot see any of this, except for the aftermath of dead bodies, makes you wonder what drives her. She’s not just a monster hunter, but she has to cover her trail as though she actually were a killer. Who, except for kids, would ever believe what she is?
BOTTOM LINE: A STEP CLOSER TO THE UNKNOWN
Truly strange things are going on in Something is Killing the Children #2. The monster that no one but children can see, that no one will believe in, is such a powerful metaphor for all sorts of awful things. I like the pacing of how this one is building up.
Something is Killing the Children #2
How do you track a monster hardly anyone can see, and no one believes in, without seeming terribly suspicious?