More and more, comics seems to be following the trend of TV, with series giving up on large numbered runs in favour of an approach containing multiple ‘seasons’. This is especially the case with Comixology Originals but now Scout Comics appear to be picking up on that trend with the recent release of White Ash Season Two #1, where Charlie Stickney, Conor Hughes and Fin Cramb pick up on the previous season to continue the adventures of Dwarves and Elves hiding in plain sight in rural Pennsylvania.
Publisher: Scout Comics
Writer: Charlie Stickney
Artist: Conor Hughes (Art/Letters), Fin Cramb (Colours)
Price: $4.99 from Scout Comics
Set two months after the events of season one, White Ash Season 2‘s opening issue sees the titular town of White Ash continue to move on as before. As Katlyn, following her traumatic ordeal, prepares to move forward with her feelings for Aleck, the newly discovered Dwarf-Man continues to make secret rendezvous with the Elf Lillian. However, when another couple spot the two and deduce that Lillian is of Elvish descent, this is not the only secret of the town which is soon revealed, with far more shocking and terrifying results.
Charlie Stickney picks up season two of this tremendous series as if there is no break at all, with the series continuing it’s feel of Locke and Key meets Romeo and Juliet. However, this issue sees these previously separate threads become more entwined as Stickney imbues a sense of importance within Aleck and Lillian’s relationship as it becomes more relevant and interconnected with their efforts to protect the town. Stickney handles this interconnectedness of the two key plot points deftly as he builds the two leads characters and personalities while also introducing a new threat, all of which leads to new revelations which makes this world deeper and more complex than originally thought.
Of course, Stickney doesn’t maintain sole focus on Lillian and Aleck, instead growing the cast and, subsequently, affecting the balance of power. Katlyn is brought to the forefront of the story as she is drawn deeper into Aleck’s world, giving the series another strong female character. Meanwhile, Sheriff Gregson, previously a background character, also pushes his way to the front as his interest in a past villain seems to be putting him and White Ash on an eventual three way battle with the Dwarves and Elves. Unfortunately, not all characters get the same kind of focus as this issue’s introduction of new villainous Brood leaves questions hanging in the air over not just what they are but who, with their appearance leaving me in some degree of confusion.
Meanwhile, Conor Hughes’ artwork maintains the same high level of beauty that we were introduced to in Season 1, with more Darwyn Cooke-esque vibes coming from each and every panel. Fin Cramb’s colours also maintain the same great quality as in the previous arc, this issue in particular showing that Cramb has gone one better with a colour scheme which not only enhances the Fairy Tale aesthetic of the series as a whole, but also greatly imbues various scenes with a greater sense of some classic horror tropes. This is best exemplified in the imprisoned Brood’s attempts to escape as well as the early reveal of some amorous teens, the look of which feels like it was ripped straight from a classic horror movie like Halloween or Friday the 13th.
Picking up nicely from season 1, White Ash Season Two #1 continues to build on the enticing beauty of what came before and improve it. With Stickney setting a cliffhanger from revelations about the main characters providing more intrigue as to what happens next while Hughes and Cramb make the visuals all the more appealing, I for one look forward to seeing this series continuing for a good long while.