After the success of any first issue, it then becomes a fine balancing act to maintain that success; keeping what works and losing what doesn’t while moving the story forward. Well, Close 2 Immortality members Jon Laight and Level 8 Comics hope to to release a worthy follow up with issue two of Brethren Born, a superhero comic with a very extraterrestrial twist. But can this second issue build on the magic caused by the first or will Brethren Born simply be a one hit wonder?
Publisher: Level 8 Comics
Writer: Jon Laight
Artist: Phillip Knibbs(Penciller), Luca Cicchitti(Inker), Santiago Ramos(Colorist), Rob Jones(Letterer)
Price: TBC from Level 8 Comics
Our rating: [star rating=”3.5″]
Brethren Born continues the story of Newton, a former child patient/prisoner of shady government program Ultra Black as he continues to hunt down the General, the head of that program, using some incredible psychic powers to avenge his fellow child prisoners and mentor, Dr Bradshaw. In this issue, after foiling the robbery of at the bank, Newton continues his search for the general by going to the police officer he met at the scene, Officer Trenton, who himself faces a reckoning as he faces the consequences of Newton’s involvement in the robbery. Meanwhile, the origins of Ultra Black are explored and its secrets are revealed, as is Bradshaw and the General’s first encounter.
Jon Laight has Issue 2 continue where the first instalment left off, carrying on a uniquely captivating story which feels very much like the X-Files or Letter 44 crossed with a classic superhero comic. Brethren Born feels like something of a slow burn as it releases just enough information with which to progress the story, resulting in an engrossing read as Laight gives readers plenty of questions to want answering in future issues. Of course, the book isn’t without it’s flaws as the character speech does seem slightly off in places, particularly from Officer Trenton during his rescue. However, moments like this are few and far between and can be forgiven against the intrigue the greater story provides.
This intrigue is only heightened by the 4 page mini book which is included with the issue, adding details to project ultra black’s backstory. While this isn’t essential to the story, it is a nice inclusion, allowing for greater depth and context.
As for the art, Philip Knibbs once again delivers another solid job, as the pencils look much cleaner in this issue. In fact, the entire style looks incredibly different as the addition of Luca Cicchitti and Santiago Ramos on inks and colours respectively makes the title a little more colourful and the style change from one resembling Ron Garney’s work to another which is more like Chris Imber. This is no more apparent than during the fight scene as the display of Newton’s powers look so much more epic than in the prior issues bank scene. Of course the biggest praise for the art team goes towards their changing the art style up slightly during flashbacks to give visual distinction between past and present. It isn’t entirely successful as one ‘past’ page is drawn in the ‘present’ style. However, given the success in the rest of issue, this can’t really be faulted.