Live-Tweeted Quasi-Review of “Anathema” issue 2: No sophomore slump for Deering or Mooneyham

The second issue of Rachel Deering’s classic werewolf horror comic Anathema is out, and just as with the first issue, I’ve captured my first read-through as a series of off-the-cuff tweets. Is this a review? Kind of. Is it silly to live-tweet the reading of a comic book? Yes. Did I capture those tweets and re-post them here for your edification and enjoyment? You know it. Does issue 2 live up to the promise of the “cocked and loaded gun” that was issue 1? Read on to find out (spoiler alert: it absolutely lives up to that promise)!

Cover: Wow, Mercy’s got some REACH with those arms. Great composition, and the colours are perfect.

Page 1: This is how you write an opening crawl, Lucasfilm. Also, I know whose eyes thooooose are!

Page 2: Shoulda worn your running shoes, lady.

Page 3: Boy, these colours. It’s like a 60’s horror film, in a GOOD way. Points to that raven for flying out over the cliff for extra height.

Page 4: At least one of these guys is a Kickstarter supporter who paid to be “killed” in this book. Awesome! I love that shadowy Mercy profile.

Page 4, continued: Mercy’s been monologuing for 3 pages, and far from being distracting, it’s a nicely paced parallel to the action.

Page 5: One page, two reactions. 1) FUCK YOU, BIRD 2) The art in the 7th panel makes me want to put Mercy in my pocket.

Page 6: A lot happening on one page, here. It plays well. Not feeling the “jump” lines in the second panel, though. Wonder who hit the roof 1st?

Page 7: Nice beat in the action. Mercy’s crouch makes me want to give her a back rub. I like that her inability to speak isolates her here.

Page 8: Daniel, instead of fucking around with axes & chasing werewolves, maybe go get some Bactine? Or, like, hug your daughter?

Page 9: Holy cow, dude, *relax*. Pick your battles. Mercy’s battle-damage poses are comical+awesome, and that second panel is HEAVY METAL.

Page 10: There’s a fork in the road of Mercy’s character development here. I wonder which way she’ll go.


Page 12: I’m not sure if those are leaves or floating ash from the fires in town, but they are a really cunning visual transition detail.

Page 13: Mercy obviously studied at the Underworld school of werewolf wall-climbing. Even in issue 1 she was pulling gecko moves.

Page 14: Nothing good has ever happened in here.

Page 15: So, I was wrong about those eyes earlier. Good to know. Good to know. Also, my new favourite onomatopoeic is “klek”.

Page 15, continued: That question mark in panel 5 gets its own tweet, because it is perfect.

Page 16: OH GOD get your water wings, Mercy

Page 17: Those are… pendulous. Also, Mercy’s really gonna need that back rub now.

Page 18: I love the energy in the lines! Nice character design, too. A LOT of fire came out of that cauldron, boy.

Page 19: More climbing! I think the foreground of the first panel is making a… *point*… of foreshadowing the solution. Great colours, ugly foe!

Page 20: Lovely perspective on that leap! Also, my perception of the foreshadowing on the previous page was… sharp.

Page 21: That looks like the crystal gem apple that Tree Trunks was after in Adventure Time, & we all know what happened to HER. Careful, now.

Page 22: “Yes, bird, I did it.” The writing in this issue SLAYS. And 80% of it is captioned thoughts to which only Mercy & the reader are privy.

Page 23: Those were leaves earlier. Again, gorgeous classic horror movie colours. Of COURSE the **** from earlier is ********* *****. WHAT NEXT?

Verdict: Issue 2 is “The Legend of Korra” to issue 1’s “The Last Airbender”: same heart, soul & style, new setting, pace & thrills.

Deering’s writing is clear and deftly handles the protagonist’s inability to speak. Mooneyham’s art remains strong, coaxing a lot of expression out of Mercy’s lupine form, and new-to-the-series colourist Ian Herring’s work casts the whole book in an exquisite Hammer Horror haze of firelight oranges. I’m no expert on comics as an art form, but I can recognize when the talents of a creative team match their enthusiasm, and that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Anathema‘s second issue is a worthy follow-up to the excellent premiere issue. I highly recommend you pick up a copy from Deering’s store, and let me know what you think – about this issue, the series so far, or the bold claim I make in the Werewolf News ad contained in this issue.