REVIEW: ‘Pennyworth,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pennyworth #2 - But Why Tho (1)

Pennyworth #2 is published by DC Comics. Written by Scott Bryan Wilson with art by Juan Gedeon. The colour artist is John Rauch and the letters are by DC Hopkins. In the present day, Alfred finds himself captured and tied up in an unknown location. In a flashback, he is a MI:5 spy on a mission. He is led to Russia with his friend and partner Shirley, discovering unnerving experiments. And even further back, a young Alfred witnesses his first tragedy.

In this issue, the three timelines are propelled forward. In the present, Pennyworth escapes his shackles and begins deciphering his location. His teenage self is in the formative years of his training as a butler and as a spy. And in the main flashback, he and Shirley Make their way further into the Soviet base. They discover dangerous new prototypes being created, ones that could spell disaster.

The plot of the comic is just as exciting as the first issue. The three different story threads tell different sides of the protagonist. The threads are segmented well and don’t interfere with each other. Wilson tells the stories with clarity that makes them easy and exciting to follow. The main segment, the Russia mission, is fast-paced and full of adventure. There is a sense of impending doom within it, and a dark tone covers much of the comic. The momentum of the other two-thirds is slower, but they are brilliant at providing context to the character’s present and his history. It should be said that there aren’t any major surprises within this series yet.

The personality that is shown within Pennyworth #2 is true to the character that we know and love, but Wilson develops his characters with aspects the reader may find fascinating. There is that stoicism that is well-known, a resolve that seems to make him unshakable. But in his backstory, you see moments of fragility. The silence that he adopts whilst carrying the body of a man who died moments early is sombre, as his father teaches him invisibility. There is excitement within him as he learns spycraft, which he exudes with composure. Perhaps the most notable is his relationship with Shirley. Alfred has not been seen interacting with women in a flirtatious manner very often, so to see him bantering is an amusing attribute to the series. What makes the reader nervous is what may be coming.

The art style remains brilliant. The detail Gedeon adds to the comic is subtle. There isn’t an abundance of lines filling a page, there’s just enough to show emotion or action, which keeps the panels simple. The action is well depicted with an element of horror stitched into the monsters the two spies face. The facial expressions are fantastic. The sorrow on Alfred’s face as he carries the body back is just enough to reveal so much about his situation. An interesting facet of the art in Pennyworth #2 is that through the different timelines, the shadows and cross-hatching increase. This hints at how much more darkness that butler was going to face in his life.

The colours are superb. The palette inside the Russian bunker and in Alfred’s cell is dark and muted. The injuries on modern-day Alfred’s face are shown through colour blending, giving a fantastic texture. In the past, there are beautiful, picturesque shades used in the countryside that whilst lovely, aren’t abrasive to the overall look of the comic.

The lettering is well done, always easy to read. With a lot of dialogue, the placement of caption boxes and word balloons is important. Hopkins does this exceptionally. What has returned are the balloons with directional arrows, used to denote where something is when it is hidden. This feature is a defining aspect of this book so it is great to see it being used outside the first issue.

Pennyworth #2 resumes the spy-thriller with some excellent action. As the three different moments of Alfred’s life continue, the readers witness an all-encompassing exploration into the life of this beloved character. What makes this series shine so far is that it is unequivocally a story about Alfred Pennyworth. The cast is very small, and so far no guest stars have appeared that may threaten to overshadow him. And so far, they aren’t needed.

Pennyworth #2 is available where comics are sold.

Pennyworth #2
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TL;DR

Pennyworth #2 resumes the spy-thriller with some excellent action…What makes this series shine so far is that it is unequivocally a story about Alfred Pennyworth. The cast is very small, and so far no guest stars have appeared that may threaten to overshadow him. And so far, they aren’t needed.