Its religion vs. sea devils…or is it? When the battle lines are drawn in Tredregyn, what will be the divisions? Find out in the Major Spoilers Review of Steeple #2 from Dark Horse Comics.
Writer: John Allison
Artist: John Allison
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16, 2019
Previously in Steeple: Curate Billie Baker arrives in the town of Tredregyn, ready to find the church and get to work. No sooner does she get there than an accident leads to her meeting Maggie Warren, local Satanist and bartender. Maggie is by far the friendliest person she meets, however. Her new boss, Reverend Penrose, is gaunt and dour, worn from spending his nights fighting devilish creatures from the ocean, which has been the responsibility of the Church in Tredregyn for generations. What has Billie gotten herself into?
A SNAPPY TAKE ON RELIGION AND HORROR
Steeple #2 is a charming book with a delightfully quirky cast of characters. While religion is front and center, this is not a book that proselytizes. Rather, it’s one point of a triangle of which the other points are Satanists and sea demons. And that makes for a delicious variety of conflicts.
We’ve reached Billie’s second day in town. The Reverend’s housekeeper asks her bluntly if she going to stay and help fight against the sea devils, or if she’s going home. Billie’s going to go her own way and do community work around the parish. She prays for a sign, and immediately crashes her bike. (I may sense a theme here.) But it does land her in front of a few teens loitering in the park. She tries talking to them and, as teens do, they pretty much rebuff her.
She confides in Maggie, who not only has a more realistic idea of what might connect with teens, but also gives her an idea. One of the teens, Dreckly, is into the drill scene. His main competition is from another town, Boscastle, and has a song about how untidy Tredregyn is. Cleaning up the town…and messing with their main rival! It’s a little silly, but this is a very cute horror book, so of course it works.
So Billie is out with the teens cleaning up garbage when the rain starts. Reverend Penrose heads out with his cudgel, because the sea devils get bolder in the rain. They both run into creatures and deal with them very differently, and Billie also manages to confront the Reverend on this one. I love this scene so much – it’s a great way to think about how we interact with people who are different from ourselves.
Speaking of people who are different, Billie also goes back out to talk to Maggie, who explains that this is not the best time for it, but she happens to have arrived during Black Mass…
SMALL TOWN AS MICROCOSM
I like the trope of a small town with something to hide that we have in Steeple #2. It looks like a pretty normal little town, but we get a sense of even more undercurrents. All over town there are signs against building a wind farm in Tredregyn. Environmental issues and monsters and an examination into religion? Things are looking interesting.
There is so much fun in the artwork. I love how innocently positive Billie is. It isn’t until this issue that she grasps that Maggie is actually a Satanist. The goth clothes, tattoos, and Satanic jewelry are not enough to penetrate. But perhaps sometimes the world needs someone with this kind of innocent optimism to take a fresh look at problems – and perhaps find novel solutions.
BOTTOM LINE: DOWNRIGHT ENTERTAINING
Steeple #2 is a fun read. The characters are all somewhat eccentric, and while I am not religious, I don’t find anything in this book that makes me uncomfortable. But I do find things that make me think, and that’s always a positive in my book.
Look out, Tredregyn – Billie is sticking it out, and is not afraid to look at things in new ways.