We return to the second installment of the now-completed Count Crowley saga, but we’re going to continue to review each issue individually. How does the production team of David Dastmalchian, Lucas Ketner, and Lauren Affe fare on the second issue? Second installments are notoriously difficult for a lot of serialized projects, but particularly mini-series. Openings are easy, building on them can be a nightmare.

So does Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter stick the landing after the high point of the first issue? Let’s find out.

The tension of the scene is well done, but I especially love the use of Jerri’s eyes in the rear-view mirror that reflects a sort of heightened reality to the way the story is told.

The Story

Issue two begins where the first issue ended; our reluctant heroine, Jerri, attacked by a werewolf. In a very satisfying sequence, Jerri defends herself to the best of her ability and proves resourceful. The opening action sequence is exciting and well-timed. The ambiguity of what exactly happens to resolve the situation with the werewolf should also provide for an interesting wrinkle later on.

The bulk of the episode deepens the mystery of the former Count Crowley, following Jerri as she brushes off the concerns of her brother, Ben, and the local authorities and digs into what happened to the former host. She stumbles upon a house, a cat, and some further weirdness. As a whole, Dastmalchian does a great job progressing the story and teasing out potential pitfalls for Jerri. It’s all very much a solid first act that bleeds into a second act if we are looking at it from the terms of a three-act structure.

My favorite element of the issue is the investigatory technique of Jerri, as we get the sense that at one point she was very much a passionate and strong journalist. While we get hints of that in the first issue, it’s solidified when she digs around Ben’s office for information.

Jerri is a well-written protagonist and I really appreciate her staying in full Count Crowley regalia the entire time. That’s dedication. Well, more stress and a hangover, but I am willing to give her this one.

The relationship between Jerri and Ben is pretty standard put-upon sibling material, thus far. It works given the apparent length and purpose of the story, but I’d appreciate a bit more tension between them.

The Look

The combination of art by Ketner and colors by Affe continues to be a very strong element toward the overall quality of the book. The heavy black shadows in Ketner’s lines are wonderful. Supplementing them are very good color choices that create a cold, foreboding atmosphere. The pairing really sells the creepiness of the house.

What I appreciate most about the art, however, is the design-sense presented by Ketner. I mentioned in my review of the first issue about how much I feel the art evokes the style of the old EC Comics, and I feel just as confident in that claim with the second issue. When the second “monster” is revealed, I felt like I was looking at something right out of Tales from the Crypt. This is in the best way possible.

What I appreciate is that though I feel the cliffhanger endings of these issues are a bit stock they are visually strong. Returning to the same sort of ending twice in the row feels a little weak to me, given the overall strength of the writing. The way they are illustrated, however, adds more interest to the endings, for me at least.

I’m particularly enamored with the usage of shadows are compositional and framing elements.

Final Verdict

The second issue of the four-part Count Crowley story is a strong follow-up to the first issue. The second issue successfully continues the story by adding new wrinkles. Overall, the pacing of the narrative feels on point. It does what it needs to do. The cliffhanger is a little boilerplate, but that’s perfectly acceptable as lead up into the next issue.

Hell, it’s in the spirit of the material that the whole comic seems to lovingly reference. Maybe I am just being picky.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

We’ll be continuing coverage of Count Crowley, so please check back. Feel free to check out our other comic coverage as well.

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

View Articles