Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Arist: Johnnie Christmas
Pisces #2 is terrifying and weird. Kurtis J. Wiebe’s latest series is full of dark themes and terrifying out of body experiences. It’s a book about war, trauma, and coping mechanisms. At the same time though, there is something more to it. There’s a darkness haunting Dillon, and it can’t be explained by PTSD. Something worse is following him. It’s themes like this that make Pisces #2 worth reading, even if we don’t understand what’s happening yet.
The first issue of Pisces was dark. It introduced readers to Dillon Carpenter, the protagonist of the series. It showed readers some of the darkness that comes along with war. War isn’t pretty, and with it comes broken men and broken families. For Dillon though, it also brought opportunity. While the first issue spent some time in space, this one is more grounded, and focuses on Carpenter’s experiences after the war. The series debut was devoid of joy, and while the events are still sad and traumatizing, Carpenter doesn’t have to face them alone this time.
Not only does Pisces #2 deliver solid horror, it also succeeds at giving an honest, sincere look at war’s impact on veterans. Carpenter meets Patrick Keene, another veteran, and the two find themselves opening up to each other. It’s nice to see the character open up, and not feel absolutely alone for once. The two exchange stories and ideas that lead to interesting flashbacks of the war.
Dancing around the conversations and flashbacks are more scenes of terrifying visions and trauma. These scenes are full of detail thanks to Johnnie Christmas’ art and instantly turn mundane activities in Carpenter’s life into hysteria. Christmas’ pencils help to establish the atmosphere of the book early on. His art is simple and backgrounds sometimes have minimal detail, but it improves the issue and emphasizes the action in the panels. At times, the art still suffers from odd expressions and poses, but otherwise holds up well. The colors by Tamra Bonvillain really make Carpenter’s visions pop out. She uses a simple pallet with dark reds and purples to make these scenes appear even more ominous. The art team together creates some disturbing panels that are capable of making the reader cringe.