In the year 1988, in the wake of an alien invasion, things are getting weird in the deserts of Arizona.  Your Major Spoilers review of Inferior 5 #2 awaits!


Writer: Keith Giffen
Penciler: Jeff Lemire
Inker: Michelle Delecki
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 19, 2019

Previously in Inferior 5:  It’s meant to be the days of Earth’s rebirth after the dreaded Invasion, but it doesn’t look like the Dominators have left Dangerfield, Arizona, nor are they done making the Inferior Five their unwitting cat toys!  Plus, the return of the Peacemaker, a broken soldier for a broken time!  All this, and Angry Charlie, too!


The streets of Dangerfield, Arizona are, as alway, practically abandoned, but Lisa and her weird friend Helen have made their way to the house covered in x-graffitti in search of a mystery.  Instead, they find Justin, whose mother disappeared into the hands of the Dominators last issue.  The three kids bond a little bit and Lisa explains the rules of the town, but before they can get further than explaining that he’s the latest fifth kid in their strange group, a monster called Angry Charlie arrives.  Well, Angry Charlie’s body, anyway, under the control of a strange telepath whom I think is Brother Power, The Geek.  Their confrontation leads Lisa to think they’re about to lose another number five, but instead, Charlie just up and leaves, called away by the Dominators.  It seems that Justin’s metagene was triggered by the attack of the monster, which reveals that their experiments during the Invasion aren’t quite over yet.  In the backup story, we get a little more of Christopher Smith, The Peacemaker, and at least the barest explanation of why he thinks his helmet is talking to him.  Oh, and the KGBeast seems to be stalking him.


I was very confused by issue one of this book, but this time around we get a lot of explication of what’s actually happening, as well as names for Lisa, Justin and Helen (who is revealed to be a Durlan shape-shifter in disguise.)  It’s a very important and necessary step to making sense of things, and the dialogue helps to further explain the characters and their places in the story.  Giffen’s art is in a very Kirby phase, with eveyr surface seemingly covered with grit and texture.  The use of blacks is fascinating, reminding me of his days aping the work of Jose Munoz, but with thicker, more angular linework.  He excels in showing us people with greasy hair in filthy fabric, something that gives Dangerfield and its residents tons of character and realism.  Jeff Lemire’s art in the Peacemaker backup is equally gritty and equally odd, making for a book that evokes the independent comics of the 1980s in all the right ways.  There are still some problems with the pacing, as neither story really feels like a cohesive chapter that stands on its own, but it’s a marked improvement over the giant question marks I was left with after reading #1.


In short, Inferior 5 #2 is the second chapter that this story had to have to keep me engaged and willing to read the next ten issues and while I’m still wondering about some of the hows and whys of it all, it’s turned into a mystery story with potential rather than a complete cipher, with art that’s full of menace and shadow, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I may never get Merryman and his pals out of this book, but things seem to be moving in a direction worth following, as the team of Lemire & Giffen have reminded me how skilled they are at crafting a compelling story.

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Business Is Picking Up

After a puzzling opening chapter, we start to see what's up with the Dominators plan and these kids, and while a sequel to a 1988 miniseries seems weird, it's shaping up to be something visually and narratively interesting.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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