The Puppet Pals of Pain are back, and this time things get a little stranger. Madam Adon – a fortune teller – has been offering her services to those in desperate need of power. She is able to transfer a person’s soul into the body of one of her puppets allowing them to do what they desire. However, these clients are only interested in one thing – revenge. Once they have murdered their enemies in cold blood, Adon returns them to their human form and they carry on with their lives.
Meanwhile, Andre Toulon, the original Puppet Master, along with his frightening fiends, strike a deal with Adon in hopes to live as human beings once again. Once they choose their new human forms, and Adon recites her magic words, they can finally leave their puppet prisons behind. Or can they?
Shawn Gabborin at Action Lab Entertainment, and his wonderful partners and illustrators Michela Da Sacco and Yann Perrelet bring you the next installment of Puppet Master mayhem filled with a few twists, turns, and, of course, torture. Now, most of you would expect that each page is filled with senseless violence and bloodshed, and at times you would be right, however, this goes beyond comic book chaos and instead utilizes the characters. As I noticed with Volume 1 – The Offering, each panel had a distinct and dark tone making it feel very cinematic. Volume 2 carries on that same idea through the artists’ use of color and shading making it an eerily beautiful work of art. The difference and improvement from before is that the characters are visually more involved with their story.
If you can take the dialogue out of a scene and the scene conveys the same message, to me, that means the visual story is strong. There are several moments in this story that achieve this in two steps.
Step one: The character stands out from the panel. Whether it be a cool dark blue or warm red and orange, the entire frame is filled with various shades of just one color. The details of the character’s surroundings aren’t lost, but they merely aren’t as important as the character themselves.
Step two: The character conveys emotion. It’s not just how a character moves, but how they emote with their facial expressions. Jester is the only character that can control their facial expressions as a doll, but once the entire crew takes on human form it’s like they are feeling for the first time. They can grit their teeth, wrinkle their nose, squint their eyes and express their anger without picking up a weapon. Since these characters have been living has wooden puppets for so long it is no surprise that Da Sacco and Perrelet utilize the transformation as much as possible.
I did enjoy this far better than Volume 1 (again, something I really liked I swear), because it wasn’t just a reintroduction to the characters it was an expansion of the original story with higher stakes, more mystery, and a cliffhanger I didn’t see coming at all. Now, my inclination to continue isn’t based on merely seeing my favorite menacing minions return, but instead what is going to happen next?
What did you think of Volume 2? If you could live for 24 hours as puppet what would you do? Let us know in the comment section below or send us a Tweet. Or if you want to sink your hook into this book check it out at Comixology.com and follow Action Lab Comics on Twitter!