A Comic by Shannon Maer
Partly because it’s insanely cold outside and I don’t have the will to brave the elements, and partly because I still need to read six books to reach my self-imposed Goodreads reading goal, I will be reading some comics this weekend and tossing some reviews up. We are starting this off with something that likely won’t too much buzz out there, but I promised I’d read a second volume to make a call about this series. When we previously talked about Shannon Maer’s new solo comic series, Siren’s Gate published by Dynamite Comics, I found the first issue a gorgeous feast for the eyes that was somehow so sparse in any sort of actual story that I could not honestly discern what was happening. Things were alluded to and never shown, characters showed up to move Tara to the next setting she needed to be in, and not much else. I was somewhat disheartened because I enjoy Maer’s cover artwork on other books they have done, but there wasn’t much there to really get too excited about. The question is, was the second issue any better?
“Featuring the first interior artwork by acclaimed cover artist Shannon Maer! With a new threat rising, Tara must once again trust in her vampire protector. Michael leads her through the darkness, with the promise of answers in the end. Already finding herself thrust into a world where werewolves and vampires are the new normal — how will Tara hold up as she bares her soul before the witch? With the supernatural uncovered around every corner, Tara cannot help but wonder how her literary idol, Lady Rose, fits into all of this. Is there still some mystery yet to be revealed?”
In some ways yes, and in many ways it is sadly more of the same. The book once again is filled with sumptuous interior artwork that honestly makes reading this kind of worth it despite my issues that I have with the book. Plot-wise, we do see some movement on a few fronts – we still aren’t exactly sure what the military personnel from issue one are doing other than targeting people that have magical powers, they are here again and the woman appears to have accidentally become some kind of super-soldier. The mysterious woman from the first chapter is here again as well, and since Tara appears to be a target now, this masked sorceress appears to be looking to protect her. Readers have no inkling as to why Tara is being hunted, but the vague notion that she has gained some manner of magical powers after “coming back from the dead” is there. We see some new side-characters including a clairvoyant named Maya that comes close to giving us the exposition I savor until the author makes Tara have a random freak out and nearly get herself killed.
This chapter is frustrating because it’s almost there, there is nearly enough plot to make one understand what is happening, but the book is never given time to relax and savor any sort of moment. It’s always a break-neck rush to the next scene for better or worse, and usually worse. I actually liked this chapter more than the last because some of the characters actually had personalities and acted like real characters, a thing that was sorely lacking before.
I will give Siren’s Gate one more issue to see if it has a chance to find its feet. If it follows the trend we have seen with issues one and two, it may be better than this issue. I am confused as to how this made it through Dynamite’s screening process without some kind of editor helping the author out on this, but I guess with it being wholly creator owned, this may not have been on the cards. The book is competently made in many ways, but the whole thing feels like a colossal missed opportunity in regards to the storyline. All I want is an issue that has a bunch of flashbacks explaining what’s happening, and perhaps this will slowly climb its way out of the hole. Join me again soon, and we’ll see if everything came together in the end, or if this ends up completely skippable.