Review – Briar #2 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artwork: Germán García
Colourist: Matheus Lopes
Lettering: AndWorld Design
Release Date: 30th November 2022

After a stunning opening issue that earned my “highest possible recommendation” last month, BOOM! Studios’ Briar continues this week as our post-apocalyptic Sleeping Beauty stumbles closer and closer to what appears to be the end of the world. Not only that, but it seems her own awakening has only served to hasten the coming apocalypse, and with a demonic bounty hunter on their tails, Briar Rose and her companion “Spider” find themselves seeking refuge with a coven of bog witches, only to discover some worrying facts about what exactly has happened to the world over the past hundred, slumber-filled years.

It’s almost impossible not to be completely and utterly hooked by the sheer strength of the world-building on display here as Christopher Cantwell and Germán García continue to peel back the layers of their story by delving a little deeper into the tragic fates of young Briar’s Fairy Godmothers.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that Briar is such a striking protagonist, narrating her own plight with an endearing brand of innocent, flowery prose that juxtaposes beautifully with the violent, profanity-laden world she now inhabits.

García does a stellar job once again of capturing the more fantastical aspects of the story with his striking, loose-lined artwork. He and colourist Matheus Lopes combine to deliver expressive characters and moody environments aplenty, and despite this latest issue lacking in traditional ‘action sequences’ to keep it going, the pair manage to keep everything visually interesting and suitably dynamic throughout.

The new antagonist introduced here manages to heighten the stakes even further as Briar and Spider try to figure out if there’s anything they can do to put things right by revisiting some of the places our sleepy heroine vaguely remembers from her time before the cursed spindle.  Cantwell does a great job of delivering the much-needed exposition in handy, easy-to-digest chunks, and while we’re still none the wiser about how they’re going to protect the realm from the darkness to come – that’s assuming they even can – the journey remains a thrilling one by virtue of the strong cast of primary and supporting characters.

The final pages give our hapless protagonists a new direction to travel in, and as I said above, it’s impossible not to find yourself completely drawn into this violent, murky and darkly comic fairytale reimagining.  Another home run for BOOM! Studios’ creator-owned slate of comics then, and series that once again gets my emphatic recommendation.

Rating: 4.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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