The Summer of Indie: Comic Review – The Standard Issue 2

Hot off the heels of the fantastic, shocking ending to Issue One, The SICBA (Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards) nominee returns with Issue Two. Following the climatic end, we see Gilbert Graham, the original Standard, trying to continue on with his life. Alex Thomas’ final case, searching for a missing child, seems to be a bigger more horrifying situation then we might have suspected: more children have been going missing then anyone realised.

Starting Issue Two almost as another issue one, building the main character who was only shown in the final panel was always going to be tricky. Yet Lees and Rector have succeeded. The script and artwork have progressed with leaps and bounds. Lees has managed to create great wisdom behind Gilbert’s words. He echoes the words of the good old days that compliment the nostalgia that issue one had with the silver age. Through Gilbert, Lees has created a character that speaks the voice of the silver age: how a reader might assume some silver age incarnations would feel about what comics have become. Wittingly or not I like the way in which Gilbert wears a bow tie, almost a homage to Barry Allen. It is a nice addition that all of the names of the creative team have an adjective before their name, a reminder of the silver age.

Further new inking team, Gulliver Vianei and Mike Gagnon fit the style of this issue brilliantly. The darker colours and shades play off well with the story that is heading further down darker tones. This can also be seen in the front cover. Rector’s artwork should be praised here. Although it is strong all the way through the book, the cover art is exceptional. It does everything that a good cover should do: it draws the reader in, wanting to find out what has happened. This is an iconic cover that I can honestly say I have seen few finer this year. The rain drops falling down onto the grave site feel so life like that you have to pinch yourself to remember that this is just a book. Further standout moments include page three where we are greeted with a truly garish sign of the dark realms of the sky city underground. Rector’s artwork goes to a new level on page 17 with the stunning black and white scene engulfing the rest of the panel grid. Page 26 is another standout moment as the gird is split evenly: one side showing the past, the other the present. Lees’ words work well here, cleverly linking to both the happier past and the darker present.

It does not have the killer low like ending that issue one had but nevertheless, The Standard is a comic book story that is growing. This issue continues to hook you in, further then issue one did. It’s structure is far superior to the already great issue one, making you want more. As stated, it’s final blow is slightly muted compared to issue one but this feels like something that is growing, something that draws you in deeper and deeper with every issue like a good slow burning televisions series.

You can buy The Standard from Graphicly, Wowio, MyDigitalComics, DriveThruComics and Oxicomics, starting from Wednesday 13th July.

GS Rating: 4 out of 5

GS Reporter: Luke Halsall

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