REVIEW: ‘Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Sirens’, #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In my review of the first issue of this series, I expressed a minor concern. That I was unable to tell if my positive feelings were borne of appreciation or nostalgia. After reading the second issue, I can safely say that those worries have been dispelled. This issue is filled with the same bittersweet storytelling and gorgeous artwork, but with a unique and distinct style. I was immediately a fan of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Sirens #2 with art and story by Chan Chau, and letters by Jim Campbell.

The story begins, as always, with the titular Storyteller sitting in his chair with his canine companion at his side. The catalyst for this issue’s story is simple enough. As the Storyteller reaches to grab his mug from the table, his hand slips and knocks over a vase. The vase shatters and the Storyteller examines it, declaring that it would be easy enough to repair. After the dog asks if it is worth the time it would take to fix it, the Storyteller plunges into his tale.

This time around the focus of the story is a goddess named Nuwa. Nuwa, described as having the body of a snake and the head of a beautiful empress, is lonely. She soon realizes that she has the ability to solve this loneliness by creating. First, she creates animals and then people, though it takes her a few tries to get them right. However, despite her phenomenal power and godhood, Nuwa soon realizes that there is more to being a creator than simply creating.

The story, written by Chan Chau, is simple yet effective. Where the first issue felt like a fable, this feels more like a parable. Though the story lacks a moral, it still has the trappings of something designed to teach rather than simply entertain. This is to the script’s credit, though. Often creation stories are told in a dry, almost matter-of-fact manner. Here there is care taken to help us understand Nuwa’s motivation and to make her a sympathetic character. The segue from the Storyteller introduction to the story itself is a little clumsy, but overall the script is solid.

The artwork, also done by Chan Chau, is gorgeous. By employing a relatively muted palette, Chau conveys a younger world. The simplicity of the colors and the deep contrasts that are drawn between the light and darkness serves the story well. One of my favorite things about the art in this comic is the use of shadowing to signify Nuwa’s loneliness and godhood. Whereas the light seems to symbolize her more “human” emotions and feelings. As she creates humans and learns more about how they operate once given life the shadow slowly recedes from her.

Though storytelling in comics is always equally visual, the benefit of the writer and artist being the same person is that we can be treated to this synthesis of the two into a cohesive whole more easily. Jim Campbell’s lettering is excellent. Always visible, clear, and clean, providing emphasis to the art without ever distracting the reader away from it.

Overall I was happy with this story. It wasn’t what I expected after reading the first issue, but it subverted those expectations in a good way. The core of the story remained the same as what I enjoyed about the first, but the change in art and writer served to strengthen the issue overall. If you liked the first issue, the Storyteller TV show, or just modern renditions of ancient stories, then this is for you.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Sirens #2 will is available in comic stores now.

Rating: 4.5/5 Braids of divine rope