As Conover County continues to transform into a supernatural sanitarium, the inmates flex their newfound “muscles.” David Atterhull – now able to toss pickup trucks – and his kin begin to claim territory as well as hostages. Wyatt, discovering strange new powers of his own, is confronted by enemies from school; enemies that can now call on unnatural energies. And Alisha continues her crash course in being a witch. It’s an apprenticeship that allies her with Sheriff Morgan, who has reason to believe Conover hasn’t yet seen the worst of this mess.
Just got finished reading issue #2 of Wildstorm’s North 40 and let me tell you that I was not let down at all. If you remember from our review of Issue #1, Now Entering Conover County, the residents of Conover County find themselves unwilling hosts to a monster from another dimension after a couple of idiots unwittingly opened a gateway between our worlds. Though the portal is not completely open, it has opened enough that some dark forces leaked through that have changed some of Conover County’s residents in different ways – some good, some absolutely terrifying. People are experiencing super powers like invincibility and flying, as well as horrendous mutations that change average, God-fearing folk into monsters.
This issue opens with the local trailer park clan, the Atterhulls, taking advantage of one of their own’s new stature. Dave Atterhull has grown substantially in size and the family are using his new girth to more easily partake in illegal activities. Like breaking and entering using a pickup truck like a baseball bat to open a whole in the wall of an establishment, or kidnapping helpless waitresses for God knows what reason.
Wyatt, a local farmboy misfit who now possess Superman-like abilities and whose father has turned into a living couch potato, has a run-in with some of the bullies who have tormented him his entire life. But there will be no vengeance for Wyatt yet, as the main instigator, Dwyer Martin, has been granted some dark powers of his own.
Sheriff Morgan, one of my favorite comic characters in some time, has his hands full. Aside from handling horrific monsters that are now appearing in his county, he is also constantly getting notes from crows controlled by waitress, Luanne. She can now see through the eyes of small animals and birds and keeps Sheriff Morgan informed of places where he is needed around town. He and Amanda – who is still being taught how to use her powers for the battle that lies ahead by the mysterious, old woman – also make a trip to nearby Lufton, or more specifically, the location Dyan and Robert accidentally opened the portal. What was once a library is now a large, smoking crater that Sheriff Morgan thinks something recently crawled out of.
And if all of this wasn’t enough going on for one issue, the Manhattan by the Moonlight high school dance is still on. It should be an interesting gathering. Not only because of all the powers that will probably be on display, but because Jenny is showing up in her new dress she got from Rose and Dottie’s. We last saw her as a zombie, stalking after poor Brad, the mayor’s son who was feeding her a load of “you’re the only girl for me” bullshit before the portal was opened. Jenny drowned as a result…sort of…and is now a zombie fixated on loving Brad forever and ever and ever – if he likes it or not. She will be showing up at the dance, and she is bringing some friends along. Friends she met in the local graveyard.
We get a some new characters in this issue:
Zach “Zeebob” Jacobs – Poor guy is slowly turning into a variety of different insects.
Mackie – Owner of the Howdy Holler. Shot dead by Sheriff Morgan after he had eaten half of one of his customers. Currently lying in the back of his bar.
Dwyer Martin – School bully responsible for some – maybe all – of Wyatt’s torment. Sheriff Morgan refers to him as a pissant. Has the power of telekinesis and may have clearly went insane because of it. Can levitate and move objects at will. Using his powers causes him to have nose bleeds and saps his strength.
Doug – Friend of Dwyer Martin. No known powers, swallowed by Wyatt’s Pa
Darnell Atterhull – One of the Atterhull clan and like Fred Atterhull, just lackeyat this point with no known powers.
Patty Ross – Waitress at the Howdy Holler. Kidnapped by David Atterhull and Co. Freed by Sheriff Morgan with help from Luanne. No known powers at this time
Loved all of this issue. The artwork, characters and writing are done exceptionally well. Aaron Williams pulls out some pretty amusing dialog, I particularly liked Sheriff Morgan’s comment to Amanda about the bloody scythe she is seen carrying around. Fiona Staples also outdoes herself with this issue as well with more than a few memorable panels, including a couple of very impressive full pagers. I especially liked the work on Zach’s plight as well as Sheriff Morgan’s confrontation with David Atterhull that without a word of dialog, displays the badassness of Sheriff Morgan. The necro cliffhanger showing Jenny picking up a few new friends to take to the dance should please most zombie fans.
North 40 has quickly become one of my most anticipated comics. The characters are all easily recognizable and so far, their dialog and actions fit their personalities. Staples has the ability to draw the normal as well as the horrific and do both equally well. I’m telling you, if you are not checking out this comic, and are a fan of horror or the Lovecraft mythos, you are doing yourself a disservice.
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