1 out of 5
I’ve been trying to find tamer ways to criticize Apocalypse Girl volume 2, because it’s never a great feeling to just rip in to something while acknowledging that human beings put effort in to creating it, but these four issues are, unfortunately, some of the worst comics I have recently read. They also represent the second time that a very promising kickoff from El Torres has been squandered by writer Colleen Douglas, and are also the pinnacle of some of Douglas’ worst writerly habits: namely her lack of craft with scene setting and transitions. Douglas has shown a definite imaginative mind with some of her creator-owned series, and when scenes are allowed to settle on actual dialogue – not prattle during action; not exposition to justify going from A to C – she has an ear for it. But Apocalypse Girl volume 2 has approximately zero of those settled moments, and reduces the other-worldly scope of the first volume down to what feels like a stakeless squabble, with a complete lack of characterization and any real sense of what motivates an issue from its first page to its last.
Issues very often feature conversations taking place between two characters for which we’re given no context, only for the scene to shift and show that there are actually four or five characters involved in the conversation – still no real context; these could be separate conversations – and then the scene shifts again and suddenly we’re pared down to a different set of characters, still apparently conversing as part of the same scene, but without any words or sentences that feel necessarily connected to what was being said before. Extend this across every issue, to the majority of interactions, and then have locations jump mid-page without any kind of clear telegraphing. Our angels versus demons general premise is attached to an overly evil preacher – whose motivations are set up as a reveal, but are, due to this writing style, too hollow to feel like much of a reveal or a motivator – ‘manipulating’ angels to do his dirty work, which is a very narrow take on the fun mash-up of world-building lore and coming-of-age tale Torres presented us with.
There could, of course, be some blame on artist Ramiro Borrallo for not capturing pieces of the script effectively, but as Ramiro rocked the previous series and is seemingly hemmed in by uninteresting and repetitive sequences in volume 2 – and given that the pacing is indicative of Douglas’ writing elsewhere – I’m tending to lean into my blame of the writer.
For which I’m sorry. With a lot of Amigo books racked up under Douglas’ name, and presumably more to come, I hope we see improvements in craft that are more on par with some of the creativity Colleen has shown with the premises of her own books.