Writer: Ram V
Artists: Devmalya Pramanik
Colourist: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Design: Dearbhla Kelly
Publisher: Image Comics
The post-apocalyptic sci-fi series returns, continuing the story of Jack Kryznan and his quest to explore the mysterious city of Paradiso. After some intriguing hints about the origins of the world-changing Midnight Event, and Paradiso itself, Jack recovers from the attack that destroyed both his transport and his entourage. Having lost the pneumas, an artefact that can repair machinery, Jack attracts the attention of the sinister cyborg pair ‘Hazard’, another scavenger of questionable intentions, and what may well be someone recruited by the city itself…
Starting with a flashback to several centuries before the events of Paradiso #1, this new instalment kicks off with the countdown to activation of a world-wide information network that may have caused the apocalyptic Midnight Event. Back in the present, Jack Kryznan continues his scavenging mission after it was violently interrupted in the previous issue. Unfortunately, he has attracted the ominous attention of Hazard, a creepy cyborg pair of a man and a little girl, who will stop at nothing to recover the pneumas. Jack is left to contend with both the bizarre hazards of Paradiso, which start playing with his memories and perceptions, and a fellow explorer (on Hazard’s payroll, no less) who has less than noble goals. Thankfully, some help may be on its way, as we are introduced to Karin, a scavenger who seems to have been recruited by Paradiso itself, although will she get there in time?
This is an exciting continuation of Paradiso #1, and it adds a lot of new interesting story hooks for future. Ram V again provides a well-written narrative, seemingly distilling a novel-like story into a comic book form. Dialogue is snappy, keeping the events moving quickly whilst simultaneously hinting at lots of intriguing background information; there are some familiar sci-fi standards here, but they have been combined together in a way that makes them feel fresh. This issue seems a little more relaxed than the first, having shed itself of the burden of introducing the universe from scratch, but that does not mean it is by any means slow or boring. Equally, characters (including Jack) keep their final goals and agendas largely secret for now, adding to the building tension. Some may find this frustrating, but the slow-burn approach works well here. This is a well-realised world, and the lack of unnecessary exposition shows details about the world through the characters, their interactions, and the intricately designed panels.
Regarding that, the art/lettering/colouring team of Pramanik, Bidikar and Kelly continue their excellent work, and have fun playing with the standard format of comic books; there is the occasional rotated panel, alien-like machine dialogue, sound effects that cut through multiple panels, and, of course, the highly detailed character art and bold use of vivid colour pallets that are rapidly becoming an impressive staple for this series. The brightly coloured cyberpunk cover is especially gruesome, and the alternate cover shows the mechanical ‘Watcher’ that chased Jack at the start of this story, highlighted with bright purples. This creative team clearly works well together, and I am intrigued as to what they produce in the future, even after Paradiso comes to an end.
An interesting and action-packed continuation, Paradiso #2 raises new questions about the city, Jack’s mission, and neatly starts to flesh out the villains. Although those wanting concrete answers to burning plot questions may be left a little disappointed, the subtler approach to storytelling employed here is by far a preferred narrative choice for me, and as such, I am definitely looking forward to the next issue. Paradiso #2 is out tomorrow from Image Comics.