TAINTED, ISSUE #2
Writer/Creator/Editor: Dean Kish
Illustrator: Francoise Valmoria
Letterer: Richard Buhisan
Publisher: Eclipse Press
WHAT IS IT?
Tainted #2 is the second issue of the mini-series. It follows protagonist Creek as she finds herself more and more consumed into a greater religious conspiracy, while trying to deal with her own depression and anxiety.
It’s a supernatural/conspiracy drama combination, like The Da Vinci Code with a supernaturally abled protagonist.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Tainted #2 is primarily about Creek, who is described as the Seer. Though it isn’t mentioned yet what exactly the Seer’s role in this great conspiracy is, we know that she is currently being hunted by an organization called the Viciat.
The Viciat have been around since Rome, and while the book gives plenty of history as to who and what they are, ultimately they are chasing instruments of great supernatural power. The Viciat almost feel cult-like, to be honest, existing in the shadows of the world for millennia. The only one who can stop them is Creek, who is a supernatural being called a Seer.
Now, having found the Seer, Octavious Farici, a member of another organization called the Julio Cross, must take it upon himself to see Creek prepared for the coming conflict, against an antagonist we only get a glimpse at, but is filled with as much mystery and intrigue as Creek herself. Ultimately, the building conflict will seemingly rest on the shoulders of Creek.
The conspiracy aspect of the story works great. There’s a lot of mystery, a lot of intrigue, and revelations that keep you turning pages. As a conspiracy drama book, that’s the lifeblood of the genre.
It’s nice to see a protagonist that openly suffers from mental health problems. Creek’s openness on her mental health is a refreshing addition to her as a character.
The artwork reminds me of anime/manga styles, which I am a pretty big fan of. So, if that’s something that you are interested in, this is a great book for you. Even if you’re not, the artwork is really great and it captures the pacing of the issue well.
I am a giant history nerd, so alternative history sequences in stories is something I really like. The implications of those changes and shifts is super fascinating to me and I feel like Tainted handles it well.
The color work uses a really bright palette, something that I think often goes underutilized in comics. Bright palettes really help pages stand out and it makes the whole book more fun to read.
The ending goes from zero to a hundred real quick, leaving off on a big cliffhanger, which always makes us want more and more soon. Strong endings are vital in comics, especially early issues, so it’s a really great hook that traps us in at the exact right time.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
I would have liked to see Creek have physical reactions to her depression and anxiety. Both of those can have physical implications, one that can sell the character in a bigger way than simply having her mention it.
Some of the dialogue is really clunky and it kind of shakes you out of it a little. A little bit more tightening up on that would go a long way.
There’s some fluff in this book, interactions that don’t push the story forward. While some of that is good to help build your protagonist, I feel like there’s an excess in this one.
The above two points could be fixed by not having the writer and the editor be the same person. As a writer myself, I can tell you that making changes and cuts is hard. Having someone who can tell you these things beforehand can really go a long way towards a better end product. There’s a lot of talent on this book, I think an editor could help polish this up and let that talent shine.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
First and foremost, for Creek. You can get sold on Creek for her witty comebacks, her difficulty in mental health, and her willingness to push forward against that anyway. Creek’s home life isn’t exactly a slam dunk, and she’s written well enough that you want to push for her to succeed.
Second, the secret organization conspiracy is really, really interesting. There’s a lot going on here, and the creative team has done a brilliant job of showcasing exactly what they want to, but not enough to where you can figure it out.
Thirdly, the ending is big and fun, leaving off at a point that’s going to make you want more and want more now.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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