Issue #2 of Romulus came out yesterday I was literally rushing to my seat so I could rip it open. After issue #1, which was many, many light years above the status quo when it comes to origin and intro issues, I was highly anticipating this release. My hunger for this book was well sated (at least until tomorrow when my mind starts craving #3). In issue #2 we start to get a more tightly wound grasp on just how much control Romulus has over the world, and how much is stacked up against our hero as she tries to free it.
The book opens up with Ashlar convening in Koreatown in Los Angeles with the Nicholas Franklin, whom she saved in the last issue. The first thing I notice are the layers of the each character being peeled back for the readers to take a peak at. Nicholas immediately fills the role of "genius" on this apparently new forming team. I imagine him being a major player in the future as far as creating nifty gear and tech for Ashlar as she battles against Romulus. Furthermore, we can see more of Ashlar's personality here. Her training is prevalent in everything she does, as is the realism and toll the fights in the story take on. Romulus' agents aren't no name foot soldiers and she doesn't come out of battles unscathed. I like most what she says in response to Nicholas who cringes after pulling out a tooth loosened in the previous battle, without so much as tearing eyes.
Aside from this, we get a glimpse at some of the social walls Ashlar builds around herself. As readers, something the characters around her don’t get, that we do, is the emotional concoction that drives her motives. While she is isn’t a cold heartless social path, and has a great deal of compassion (expressed in her own “sit your butt down so I can save you” kind of way), she doesn’t like the idea of working with others and she doesn’t like people warming up too much in her personal space. Even her body language is “strictly business.” But it’s becoming more and more evident that she’s going to have to work with others to accomplish her goal, whether she wants to or not.
Moving forward we find out that psychics exist! The art on the page following Ashlar's telepathic breakdown, is breathtakingly beautiful, and there is metaphor in both the images and the text that accompanies them. Every time it's mentioned Ashlar as being “Last of the Wolves” I grow more interested in these implications. I’m hoping future issues will allude to exactly what this entails. In any case, the psychic, who is also a pop star named Sozo, sent Ashlar a mental message requesting her presence. Sozo is a new character to this issue, but I feel she is filling yet another slot on Ashlar's forming team.
Of course, while convening with Sozo and learning about the existence of an illuminati who plan to fight against Romulus, they are attacked by a man in silver and black, claiming that Ashlar was given to him. He is her Shadow. He defeats her, but doesn’t end her life. Instead he kidnaps Nicholas. Angry and distraught, Ashlar begrudgingly takes up Sozo’s offer to join the illuminati
Another little tidbit i'm enjoying about Romulus are the words. They are powerful. At one point a new character, introduced as Reagan, who is practicing for a speech states:
The irony lies in the fact that she lets slip that she serves Romulus, "the one true god.” I believe we are seeing the set up to just how deep Romulus runs and how they are going to try to take 5 million lives, with only Ashlar and the mysterious illuminati to stand in their way. The conflict is set and key characters are being introduced. We notice quickly that Reagan is extremely wealthy and powerful, and will likely be an important antagonist going forward.
The art in this book is stunning. Nelson Black II knows a thing or two about battle stances in fight scenes and it shows in his work. Both the line art and coloring are flawless, and every character has a very distinct look. Some artists fall into the trap of characters looking relatively same, changed only by sex, or hair color, but here we can see very distinct differences in the characters that are easy to discern. I also love Ashlar's expressions, and the determination and focus always well written on her face. Beautiful work.
We are two issues in and we are already gearing up for a story and characters that can easily go on for 100’s of issues. Of course, for a story of this sort of quality to prevail it needs support. I implore everyone to go out and buy and LIST this comic. It is more than worth it.