Reaver #2 is published by Image Comics under the Skybound imprint. It comes from the creative team of writer Justin Jordan, artist Rebekah Isaacs, colorist Alex Guimarães, and letterer Clayton Cowles.
Reaver #2 opens with Ash and his compatriots on the run after their daring escape from the Imperial prison. They are now wandering through a blizzard making their way toward the lands of the Rael people. The magician Marris, having revealed that he was joining the group in their travels, leads the way. The journey appears bleak and it seems that the blizzard may claim the lives of the group. However, Marris has a plan, and before they know it he has unveiled a cache of supplies. Now armed, armored, and in better spirits, the group continues their travels.
The story then shifts to nighttime as the party sits around a campfire. Essen left them briefly to hunt for food and Ash speaks with Rekala about their odds for survival. As they talk, Rekala discusses a little about the Rael people. Specifically how they document their lives and stories on their flesh. She explains that by eating this flesh and taking their stories, she has gained the nickname Skineater. The two fall asleep and the next morning Ash is roused by Marris. Rekala has gone missing and he must go find her so she can get her dose of antivenom, or she’ll die. Ash goes looking for her but finds more than he bargained for. Now, in danger with enemies all around, the party must rely on each other to survive.
With Reaver #2, it feels like Justin Jordan has started to hit his stride much more. Gone are the complaints of a lack of depth in the world-building and characterization. Here the reader is treated to a more nuanced and meaningful look at almost everyone in the group. There are still some who need fleshing out, but that serves more as mystique than a detriment to the narrative. With this added narrative strength, this series becomes much more interesting. Jordan is finally showing details of this world, and his inspirations for these details as well. It is exciting to consider how these details will be used to further the plot in the future.
Isaacs’ art remains a strong point for the series. With the added depth to the characters through the story, the art makes them feel even more human. Isaacs’ panels are vibrant and lively. When the action takes place, this vibrancy becomes more chaotic, but never difficult to follow. The excellent colorwork from Guimarães only serves to compound this. Despite much of the issue being set in snowy terrain, Guimarães’ colors still keep the art lively and fun to look at. Additionally, the letters from Cowles are surprisingly reserved, but clean and tight nonetheless.
Overall I felt like this issue was even stronger than the first. Focusing on the characters and giving them additional depth was an excellent decision and adds some stakes to their mission. There are clearly still mysteries to discover, as well as schemes from each of the rogues involved. Thanks to the strength of this issue, I am excited to follow up and see each of them pan out.
Reaver #2 will be available in comic stores everywhere now.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stories printed on slightly chewed flesh.