Back with their second installment of Crawling Sky, Joe R. and Keith Lansdale take a backseat to Brian Denham’s talents in visual storytelling, as their reliance on expository dialogue reaches unsatisfactory heights. With a script that’s carried by its artwork, “Crawling Sky” #2 doesn’t deliver as magnificently as its series opener; but considering this is merely a five-issue miniseries adapted from a gratifying novella, a gratuitous amount of build-up is to be expected.
WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale, Keith Lansdale
ART BY: Brian Denham
PUBLISHER: Antarctic Press
RELEASE: January 13th, 2013
As previously mentioned, this issue’s main problem is that it takes a winding, but perhaps necessary, course through explanatory territory, making it quite clear that the series is adapted from a prose narrative. On its own, it wouldn’t be a great hindrance, but for a visual medium such as comics, a single issue that meanders towards its final panel with only one significant plot point is slightly off-putting.
Issue #2 continues with Reverend Mercer following Norville back to his isolated cabin, ready to face the demonic spirit that’s lurking in a nearby well. Seeming to understand the gravity of the situation, he slowly begins to piece together the growing mystery surrounding the savage creature, as they find a secret tome called The Book of Doches. Working quickly before night falls, Mercer instructs Norville to build a protective barrier inside the cabin, while he studies the contents of the spell book. Stopping the demon from returning to the source of its power is their main objective, but it must be summoned first.
Though not nearly as riveting as the first installment, the Landsdale’s infuse the narrative with some fleeting instances of humorous asides, which Denham illustrates wonderfully. For example, when it’s revealed that the cover of The Book of Doches is made out of skin, he renders an image of Norville amusingly wiping his hands on his clothes in distaste. Denham remains artistically consistent, excelling where the scenes call for excessive shading and darkness.
Overall, “Crawling Sky” #2 suffers for the pacing of its narrative, but Brian Denham effectively pushes the story along with his pencils. Admittedly, the final panel leading into the next installment is thrilling, as readers are offered a glimpse of the monstrous demon that Mercer and Norville will be facing in Part 3.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd