Folklords #2 Review

by Jay Hill on December 18, 2019

Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Matt Smith
Colors by: Chris O'Halloran
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
Published by: BOOM! Studios

The quest is still on. Oddball Ansel is setting out to find the Folklords of legend despite the sinister Librarians deeming it forbidden. By his side is his elf friend, Archer. But on their trail is the mysterious “Red Librarian” that let them pass on their quest, and also now a cloaked figure follows their path too.

Without introducing any extremely drastic elements, this issue was able to subvert my expectations for the series on multiple occasions. The fact that the issue ends with the story going in a completely new direction because of an unforeseeable problem arising, changes the possibilities of the comic. To start with, the backstory we’re given for Archer was the first instance of this comic turning on its head. The juxtaposition of his words and the images that are presented are just left for the reader to react to. Then, Archer’s questionable actions further cause him to become a wildcard in the journey. With the reader having more knowledge than Ansel, it will now be left to see if any of what developed comes into play. Then, with the introduction of Greta, more apprehensibly trustworthy characters surround Ansel. This issue had me feeling anxious throughout. I didn’t know who to trust or where the story could go. That was made even more obvious when the quest for the Folklords becomes completely sidetracked when Greta explains there is a murderer in the forest that may have caused the disappearance of her brother. The grim story she tells around the campfire brought that anxiety to a fever pitch. Finally, the morning comes, and everything gets even worse; it was like waking up from a nightmare to realizes the real world is just as terrifying. And on top of all the stacking bricks is the glimpses of the “real world” meta-narrative. The vague glimpses we get in this issue bring us no closer to the answers.  I knew that this comic being written by Matt Kindt meant the story was going to be anything but straightforward. But maybe I should have been on my toes more; it tricked me with its apparently simple “hero” story. Kindt wrote trippy tales like MIND MGMT and, one of my favorite Spider-Man stories, Fight Night, so, this is no real surprise. I admit I have been thoroughly thrown for a loop here, but I’m undoubtedly enjoying myself.

Matt Smith continues to impress me with his art. In the #1, I enjoyed his unique style. I loved the almost “bubbly” vibe it gave. But this issue shows he can do creepy just as well. As soon as we get Archer’s backstory the entire comic is filled with an ominous tone. The imagery of the elf infants surrounding the tree was odd, helped by the soulless, drained coloring by Chris O'Halloran. Then the famine overtakes the farm and all the other unsettling imagery comes, and the tone is firmly put in place. We get back to the woods and suddenly the forest doesn’t feel like a fun place for adventure; it feels like a creeping danger. The use of shadows in this issue was great for keeping that feeling alive. The shot of Greta with her back to us, and Ansel and Archer slowly approaching her, was executed in an off-putting way; the anxiety of this issue was carried by shots like that. Greta’s story, with its great panel layouts and beautifully haunting coloring, may have been the apex of the spooky nature of the art. Then, we have the climax of Ansel in the growingly sinister woods and what he finds in it. Kindt is no stranger to writing trippy scenes (see the comics by him I mentioned) but seeing this art team try that out was nice.

Folklords #2 takes the journey of Ansel off the beaten track. If it seemed predictable, this proves the story has more to offer. This, surprisingly chilling, issue is written so that its secrets stay hidden while taking the characters on a journey they, and the readers, couldn’t have seen coming. And its paired with art that plays to the creepy nature of its setting and situations. I was in for this series because it started the story off well, but now I’m hooked because I can’t see where it’s going.

Our Score:


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