Written by: Tom Ward Art by: Luke Parker Letters: Nic J. Shaw
Tom Ward and Luke Parker are back, the dynamic duo behind the awesome Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman #1 bring us the follow up issue of this intriguing and fresh tale. We left our eponymous hero in dubious company and in this issue we follow this thread alongside the traumatic beginning in the life of the Elephantman.
The two strands of the story exist in a symbiotic relationship to one another; the past element is presented in bright, light tones while the second is delivered with the dark, brooding atmosphere of Merrick’s present peril. The plot is developing nicely as this story goes on; this second issue maintains the pace and consistency that was deftly established in the first book. Ward confidently orchestrates his protagonists, shaping them into fully realized characters. Merrick is a character driven by the trauma he experienced in issue 1; revenge is in his heart for the betrayal of the Penny Gaff (see #1). The machinations at play around Merrick, in particular the influential but mysterious Dr Treves, are take on deeper significance as the book progresses.
The partnership between Parker and Ward is working well, each is highly proficient in their respective arts. Ward is handling the story with aplomb and Parker is giving the book a highly distinctive feel. Indeed, the parallels between Merrick and the artwork of the amazing Mike Mignola are striking. It is to Parker’s credit that his panels wouldn’t be out of place in the pages of Hellboy. Despite this being an independent comic, Merrick, thanks to Ward & Parker, would easily grace one of the premier publishers. Those who backed the successful Kickstarter campaign are being rewarded by a quality book, one that holds the attention as the creative team draw you further and further into the world of The Sensational Elephantman. The quality at play here leads you to feel confident that the planned future installments will continue in the same manner. It is nice to see the early promise of this story is being maintained, that this isn’t just a one hit wonder in the first instance but that the second maintains the quality throughout.