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Mysterious Ways takes a religious turn this issue that could upset many Christians – especially when it’s worked in with strippers and murderers. The vulgar language and actions of our ‘hero’ make him unlikable. The plot has many facepalming moments that make you almost laugh out loud at how improbable they are. The art continues to fail to impress and remains reminiscent of Image Comics of the 90s with rarely any good moments but a consistent gritty New York nature that fits the tone of the story.
In this drenched New York City, the chase is on between cop killer Sam and the police who are convinced that our blood-covered protagonist is the serial killer they have been looking for. During the pursuit, Sam is aided by a mysterious figure that disappears as quickly as he appeared, leaving him with more questions and, shortly after, a shotgun in his face.
The supernatural religious aspects of Mysterious Ways #2 are the best and most unique elements the issue has to offer, so if you are offended by the mention of God within a strip club, there is not much else to enjoy in this issue from writer Jason Rubin. None of the religious elements are sacrilegious; it’s just hard to see those elements when every other character is muttering curses and showing cleavage. The best part of the issue is when Sam throws a bloody bible near a storm drain – okay, that does sound a bit sacrilegious, especially since this is a man who claims he does not believe in God – only for the blood to magically disappear. These few supernatural elements intertwined with religion are great and are woven into the seemingly realistic murder mystery of a story seamlessly. But the rest of the story takes a more realistic approach and some moments would be worth Razzis if they were written into movies, like when Sam is still wondering why everyone thinks he is the serial killer. The fact that he is covered in blood and had no qualms about killing a cop in the past does not seem to cross his mind. At one point, he returns to the scene of a crime in a hoodie – only slightly better than Superman’s disguise – and is not recognized by the dozens of cops around him, most of which knew him personally before he was kicked off the force.
There are many unoriginal moments, too. The comic is a lot like an Arnold Schwarzenegger film I saw recently called End of Days. Not only does the movie include religion as a main element of its story (though never had moments as bad as that film which had the devil urinate on a car to blow it up), but Sam is exactly like Schwarzenegger’s dime a dozen depressed cop character, complete with a messy apartment and suicidal tendencies that we know are not going to lead anywhere since this is our protagonist and it’s not the final issue. It is hard to feel sympathetic towards Sam; although the reason he killed a cop while he was on the force is partially revealed in this issue to try and create some sympathy for him, it still fails to make Sam very relatable or likable. No other character makes much of an impression. Zassel seems like the stereotypical suit-wearing FBI agent who is trying to avenge his girlfriend, a plot point I did not even catch in the first issue but was included in the summary at the beginning of this issue (which is an extremely helpful feature that makes reading the first issue almost completely obsolete).
Tyler Kirkham’s art continues to feel like a trip to the 90s. The only positive part of the art is that it does manage to keep a gritty New York feel throughout the issue adding to the mood, with the addition of the rain only adding to the atmosphere. The art is never hideous but has many off-putting moments, like numerous lines in the sometimes neglected backgrounds and floating heads used to provide more space for speech bubbles that look silly on the page.
The title still has a lot of promise with mystery and creepy supernatural elements related with religion that can sometimes seem misplaced among the language and strippers. The supernatural moments manage to be creepy and are the only reason to pick up the issue. The art does stand out from other titles and takes you back to the 90s, and not the worst parts of the 90s, but is nothing to brag about. Sam may not be a likable or original protagonist yet, but there is still hope for this title if more focus is put into the supernatural and not how many curses can be squeezed onto the page.