American Ronin #2 Review

by Nick Devonald on November 11, 2020

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Aco
Colours: Dean White
Letters: Sal Cipriano

The first issue of American Ronin introduced us to a near future world run by huge corporations and assassins who utilise technology and their victims DNA to truly get inside their heads. Our titular American Ronin has a very personal grudge against one of these pancorps in particular and has a list of targets he’s going after. Enough of the world was revealed that readers could follow along, but Peter Milligan didn’t spend much time explaining this world, instead leaving little titbits of information for the reader to piece it all together by themselves.

This second issue picks up from where the last one ended, with the Ronin after a new target, unknowing that he has a similarly trained assassin on his trail. What follows is like two simultaneous and parallel cat and mouse stories. We watch the Ronin getting closer to his target, oblivious to the fact that he is being pursued in exactly the same way. The unique empathy abilities of the Ronin makes for an interesting story in its own rights, watching him manipulate his way closer to his target, learning his flaws and weaknesses, and that of his entourage. The worldbuilding is excellent, and the reader is drip-fed little bits of information throughout which begins to fill the larger picture without ever feeling like needless exposition. Couple all of this with the parallel story of him being pursued and it really builds the tension, one of those instances where the reader benefits from knowing more than the protagonist does. It builds up to an incredible cliff-hanger which will leave readers on the edge of their seats.

The art from Aco is a real highlight of the comic. The scenes where the victims DNA is being absorbed and the connection is being made is stunning. Little fragments which all come together to reveal the bigger picture are expertly done, such a unique concept brilliantly brought to life by the art. This is the type of story which shows what a unique medium comics are for storytelling and is excellently done. Then there are some clever storytelling techniques used with pages using the same layout as previous pages, as we see our two parallel stories acting out on the page.

Dean White’s colours are the final missing piece of the puzzle, really making the most of Aco’s art and bringing the whole thing to life. There are a number of scenes which only work so well because of the clever use of colours. Nightmares really come to life on the page, are almost surreal, thanks to the colour choice. And when the Ronin uses his abilities to get into his victims head the art is stunning, and the colours make the most of the art.

An intelligent and well constructed world is the setting for a sci-fi story about Assassins who can literally connect and empathise with their victims using their DNA gives some incredible storytelling opportunities which Peter Milligan makes the most of. The art is stunning, and demonstrates which comics are such a unique and important storytelling medium.

Our Score:


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