Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Ariela Kristantina
Release Date: 13th January, 2016
For the second issue of InSEXts, we pick up the story six months after the birth of Lady Bertram and Mariah’s son. The body of Lady Bertram’s husband has yet to be found, but Victorian society dictates that appearances must be kept up – therefore we join Lady Bertram at a Garden Party, having sex with Mariah. If there is one thing we learned from Issue one, it’s that these two ladies can’t get enough of each other! However, the disappearance of the Viscount is society news, and some of the men have their eye on our (not so) poor abandoned wife. Still, one must follow protocol, but when one such suitor gets a bit frisky with Lady Bertram she loses it. Big time. As in, spouts wings and insect appendages. So yeah, six months has definitely seen some changes.
Mariah uses one of her special abilities to cover this up – she blows pollen in the face of the suitor and he forgets – just as the news breaks that the body of the Viscount has been found. Now begins the traditional period of mourning. Lady B is expected to shut off from society for several months until such time as it’s acceptable for her to make a reappearance. Six month will be ample time for her to familiarize herself with her new body and abilities… and so she decides to explore London…
InSEXts part two has taken the initial story and developed this with two teasing and significant reveals. The body horror aspect of Lady Bertram becoming some kind of insectile predator (and I can’t help wondering why Mariah hasn’t ‘changed’ yet), and that the insect hybrids (I really don’t know what else to call them) are not the only strange thing running around Victorian London. These are interspersed through the ongoing story of Lady B and Mariah as they seek to escape their previous incarceration to the violent and abusive relationship they both had with the Viscount. Unfortunately for them, the in-laws have arrived for the funeral, and they are not content at how things have transpired.
While some of the overall verbiage in the story is perhaps a little bit to flowery for my tastes, being a manly, manly, man (get to da choppa!), I would be an absolute idiot not to recognize the appeal of this title. Marguerite Bennet has delighted me in the execution of her narrative thus far, and I have a ton of questions and guesspectations on the back of part two that I can’t share as it’ll reveal spoilers. I also can’t wait for Lady B to lose her sh!t and go on a rampage – and you know it’s on the cards at some point.
Ariela Kristantina’s art maintains the high bar she set in the initial episode, and I can’t get enough of the organic, yet slightly messy style of her inkwork. She really has gone to town and embraced the period fashion of the time, and she makes it so sensuous. The scenes between Lady B and Mariah are tender and deeply sexual and push all the right reactionary buttons, and I have to admit her rendering of Lady B in insect mode is pretty damn awesome. I’m looking forward to the reveal of Mariah when she goes full insect badass.
InSEXts is what it is. Love it, or hate it I don’t think there is any question that you can’t appreciate this is a well-executed and superb title. The story so far – and the promise of what is to come – will grip you like a fly in a web (see what I did there), and I cannot praise the art highly enough: I really have become a huge fan of Ariela Kristantina’s work. However, there is a lot of sex going on, and that might not sit well with some people, and personally I’m not a huge fan of the florid period dialogue. I’m also quite selective about horror in general, so it’s a testament to the strength of Marguerite Bennett’s writing that I have InSEXts on my pull list.
The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.