by Scott Southard. The idea of somebody serving up the premise of a crappy primetime drama in a comic book sounds… well. Honestly it sounds horrible. There’s never been a need for Fringe or Medium or Psych to be converted to graphic novel form (though that’s happened anyway), but adding a touch of realism and some deeply jarring moments to the old formula seems to be paying off in a very real way for Aftershock’s Second Sight.
We’ve seen the introduction to Ray, the troubled, waning Gen-Xer wasting away into booze holes and mediocrity. The call to revive his career as an unlikely crime-fighting psychic has finally come in, and the second issue follows Ray through past and present as he tries to overcome the terror of criminal torture, not to mention a few of his own personal demons.
There’s an underutilized storytelling technique going on in Second Sight. Retrospectively looking upon an origin tale is definitely old hat, but here we look at Ray’s past to find several layers of depth. Instead of begging the author to get to the point, Hine gives us a glimpse into something I already know I want more of. I want to know about the drug-fueled parties and the botched instances of telepathy. I want to see a flawed person deal with the knowledge that they have something supernatural lurking inside, and they have no idea what to do with it. (Come on, would you really go save the world if you woke up tomorrow and found out you knew how to fly?) Hine’s approach is more natural and believable here than it would be in most other instances. I’d probably be just as sad, drunk, and broken if I’d seen the things Ray’s seen.
The book has it’s moments of Palahniuk-esque extremism, but for the most part, it’s not difficult to bypass. The moments of true heart outweigh the schlocky ultra-violence and hit a chord that’s not unlike an Aronofsky film or something from Flannery O’Connor. And Hine’s thematic use of narratively transplanting the reader into other people’s thoughts is decidedly a tremendous exercise in empathy. Not only do we see the victims’ pure fear, but we see the horror that has brought these killers to mayhem. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s definitely not something you see on TV everyday. The power of the comic book medium keeps Second Sight from stumbling on its own tropes.
AfterShock Comics / $3.99
Written by David Hine.
Art by Alberto Ponticelli.
Colors by John Kalisz.
Letters by Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt.
7 out of 10