REVIEW: ‘Bone Parish,’ Vol #2

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BOOM! Studios‘ supernatural crime drama, Bone Parish, returns once more in the second volume of this spine-tingling series. In Bone Parish Vol #2, written by Cullen Bunn, with art from Jonas Scharf, colors by Alex Guimarães, cover art by Lee Garbett, and lettering from Ed Dukeshire, the Winters must pick up the pieces after the Cartel attacks their drug operation.

Like Rome, the Winters Drug Empire wasn’t built in a day. It took years of cultivating the supernatural drug known as Ash for the Winters to rise to the top criminal world. But in Bone Parish Vol #1, the Cartel struck at the heart of the family’s operation, leaving youngest son Wade Winters dead and the family’s drug distribution chain in shambles. Their empire is shaken to its foundation as the Winters find themselves surrounded by enemies and more vulnerable than ever before. To regain their crown, the Winters need to play dirty if they stand any chance of fighting off the competition. Meanwhile, the Winters’ New York competition experiments with reverse-engineering the drug to disastrous results, while the Mexican Cartel’s new leader plots her revenge.

Throughout the series, we’ve seen the different effects Ash has on those who take it. Derived from the grounded up bones of stolen corpses, Ash allows users to live out the memories of the dead, even granting some the skills of the dead. Bone Parish Vol #2 evolves the drug’s mythology and expands the scope of what it can do with grisly results. If Bone Parish’s first volume sold the allure of Ash, depicting the drug’s hallucinations with vibrant psychedelic color scapes, this volume ups the ante. The New York Mafia’s knockoff Ash turns anyone who uses into a nightmare. Ash users practically turn inside out on the drug, their bodies warped like ghosts made flesh within them. It’s disgusting and the exact sort of gross-out fans of body horror want to keep coming back for more.

While every member of the Winters family playing a role in Bone Parish Vol #2, it’s Grace Winters who makes the biggest impact. After running out of the experimental Ash that allowed her to talk to her late husband Andre, Grace must lead her family without his guidance. But when Grace Winters looks into the mirror and see Andre’s face staring back, her entire world changes. The subtle transformation that follows is a tribute to Scharf’s skill as an artist. Just by shifting Grace’s body language and posture, Scharf sells Grace’s transformation masterfully.

The only place where Bone Parish Vol #2 falls short of Vol 1 is its action. The book shows off some great action sequences, but none hit the same highs as the Ash fueled shootouts of Vol 1. But honestly, that doesn’t hurt Bone Parish Vol 2. Instead, Bunn focuses the book’s narrative on character development and crime drama. New cartel leader Leticia, in particular, injects a thrill into every page thanks to her vicious unpredictability.

Bone Parish Vol #2 takes the Winters and their spectral drug into strange and dangerous new territory. A potent mix of family drama, thrilling crime and gruesome horror, Bone Parish Vol #2 brings the series into its own. For a weird tale of the best kind, check out Bone Parish Vol #2.

Bone Parish Vol #2 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Bone Parish Vol. 2
5

TL;DR

Bone Parish Vol #2 takes the Winters and their spectral drug into strange and dangerous new territory.