Overview

Elk's Run #2

Review

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Elk's Run #2

Credits

  • Words: Joshua Hale Fialkov/Jason Roriguez
  • Art: Noel Tuazon/Paul Maybury
  • Inks: Noel Tuazon/Paul Maybury
  • Colors: Scott A. Keating/Paul Maybury
  • Story Title: Chapter Two: The Coming War
  • Publisher: Hoarse and Buggy Productions
  • Price: $3.00
  • Release Date: Jun 29, 2005

The people of the military town of Elk’s Ridge have created their own independent city-state. But to what purpose?

In issue 1 of this series, we were introduced to a boy growing up in a strange and unsettling military town cut off from the rest of civilization. When a teenager is killed by a reckless driver, the idyllic existence of Elk’s Ridge is disturbed and the people demand retribution. In this issue, we are given insight into the mind of the boy’s father, John Sr., the ringleader of the angry "eye for an eye" mob. We see flashbacks to his service in Vietnam and the hard decisions he was forced to make—decisions that influenced his view of society and led to the founding of Elk’s Ridge. It seems that John and the town council have an ultimate plan for the community. Something is rotten in the state of West Virginia…

A mixture of drama, coming-of-age story, and psychological horror, Elk’s Run is quite unlike any comic I’ve ever read. Joshua Hale Fialkov tells an engrossing tale with a sense of paranoia and general unease permeating every page. From the start, one can tell that there is something a little "off" about Elk’s Ridge. An almost cult-like fervor fills the people and their deeply held ideals of society and justice take a dark turn almost immediately. Fialkov did an excellent job capturing the voice of John Sr. in this issue, keeping his narration distinct from that of the son in the previous issue. It’s clear that John is not a man I would see eye to eye with on numerous points but his chilling logic and dedication to his beliefs make for a very compelling read.

Noel Tuazon’s artwork aids the comic immeasurably with its unique style. Thick oily black ink strokes flow gracefully across the page like a Japanese painting, yet the images this technique are applied to have a distinctly American design. Scott A. Keating’s colors give the book a somber moody feel that contributes to the tone engendered by Fialkov’s story. Keating frequently renders one character in full color while the world around him remains a single shade, the comic book equivalent of a spotlight. This is a very effective approach that adds dramatic emphasis at just the right moments and draws the reader’s gaze.

This issue also featured a backup story called "All the Wrong Choices" by Jason Rodriguez, with art by Paul Maybury. In truth, I’m not certain what to make of it or of the ramblings of the man on the subway car discussing his life with a young boy. Rodriguez seems to have some lofty ideas for this story but I didn’t feel that he conveyed them very clearly. At least the lead character admits to intentionally confusing the boy, and by extension, us.

Befuddling backups aside, Elk’s Run delivers solid and captivating storytelling with a disquieting edge. Come pay a visit to the town…but mind the rules if you value your life.

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