The second issue of Penny Palabras builds on the first in a slow, steady manner. Penny’s need for a Ghost Apprentice to help free herself from the malevolent Straw Man is addressed, several new characters are introduced, and the overall stakes are raised as the Straw Man’s mischievous actions take a menacing turn.
There’s a lot to like about this series, not least of which is Patrick K. Beaver’s heavily-shaded artistic style. His work is simplistic but filled with expression, and his character designs are truly memorable, particularly when it comes to ‘The Tiger Devil’, an interesting new character introduced in the latter portion of the book who has the potential to completely alter the direction of the story as it moves forwards. His exchange with Penny is memorable, if a little wordy in places, and Beaver’s artistic skills come to the fore as the Devil’s tauting turns physical in one particularly brilliant page.
I had a few minor niggles about this second issue, though. Firstly, I’d like to see a little more of The Straw Man. For a character who serves as the main driving force of the book, he has been used incredibly sparingly to this point, and while the occasional glimpses have been decent enough, I don’t feel that his true air of menace has quite been established just yet. Granted, he does get a little more ‘hands on’ in this issue, but I’d definitely like the chance to get a better look at a character who’s playing such a pivotal role in this story.
Also, as much as I enjoyed the use of the ‘hand written’ style lettering to further cement the horror story vibe, I also felt there were a few occasions in this issue where the lettering overcrowded the page, overshadowing and stifling the illustrations themselves. The fact that so many of the speech and thought bubbles are depicted in black also adds to this sense of overcrowding, and while the overall idea is definitely a good one, the execution is a little off here.
Overall though, Penny Palabras remains an interesting story with an enigmatic protagonist, a distinct visual style and a lot of questions still remaining unanswered. It’s difficult to say with much certainty where the story is heading from here, and in my opinion, that’s definitely a plus. Well worth a look for horror fans though, and with me just having received a copy of issue #3, expect another review coming your way real soon.
The first three issues of Penny Palabras are currently available for sale in the Amazon kindle store.
You can also find out more about the series at PennyPalabras.com.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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