Welcome to another duel review where we take two looks at a book and give you a different view of the issues. Today we have Boom! Studios Malignant Man #2 which I was personally looking forward to after the first issue. Before we get into that we have a simply summary from Boom!'s site.
What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger! The hospital sent cancer patient Alan Gates home to die. Instead, his tumor transformed him into something more than human...When Alan discovers that his tumor is actually a mysterious parasite — he’s granted a second lease on life... and incredible, otherworldly powers! In this issue, learn what is the secret truth behind the parasitic alien living beneath Alan’s skin! It’s dark. It’s twisted. And MALIGNANT MAN is unlike anything else on the stands. This is a sci-fi thriller that can't be missed! - Boom!
The second issues has one very good and bad thing about it. It takes the time to explain the "rules" and background story of the series which sets up the third issue to move the story forward, but makes the second half of this issue very dull and full of unrealistic conversations. Everyone trusts Alan way too much and reveals every
detail to him all at once rather than letting him slowly adjust and take in
what their telling him. It’s almost like they’re so excited to see him after so
long they can’t wait to pour their hearts out to him. I would have liked the
dialog more if Michael Alan Nelson had actually just added one scene explaining
that. As it is it drops the book to just average.
The quality of the art is also troubling as it’s very rough
in parts. Alan in particular is very inconsistent which should be okay since
he’s healing and growing hair back, but instead he looks like a ninety year old
man with a child’s face. It was a bit disappointing since he’s the hero of our
tale. The rest of the world is very well drawn and artist Piotr Kowalski does a
great job of drawing the other characters as two different ages. It’s just very
distracting that the character of Alan changes so much throughout the story when he's not supposed to.
In general I still really like the concept of
this book and feel that this second issue is just a stepping stone towards the
large plot of the series. It’s also in a way the origin issue for the series
and gets the “rules” of the world out of the way so we know what our main
character can and can’t do. Unfortunately it breaks from the flow and pacing
the first issue established which made it so great to begin with. I do wish
that they had taken one more issue to get to this one as it would have made the
payoff of the “rules” a lot more enjoyable, but as it stands it’s still a good
issue that has room to improve.
After a great first issue full of originality no less was expected from the next issue of the Malignant Man. Instead, not only are most of the secrets in the series revealed with way too much exposition but the mediocre art makes the issue harder to look at than the first, the originality from the first issue is only slightly present in this issue.
The main problem with this issue of Malignant Man is the ton of exposition given on the history of the Malignant. The mystery of the Malignant in the first issue was the best quality of the issue. In this issue we’re given almost all the answers, though a few are still thankfully unfilled for the next issue to uncover. It is understandable why the pacing is faster than the average comic book series since the Malignant Man is only a four issue mini-series and needs to wrap itself up quickly, but the pacing in the first issue was perfect and this issue blatantly jumped the shark and needs to slow down a bit.
The villains remain as bland as they were in the first issue, barely having panel time so the powers of the Malignant can be shown off, which are pretty cool. The main villain, Mr. Cancer (and I’m still trying to decide if his name is dastardly or corny – I’m leaning towards latter) is finally seen for an instant, but fails to make any impression.
And that pretty much describes this comic: it fails to leave much of an impression. Most ideas from other works are usually the inspiration for many works of today. After a very original first issue Malignant Man has a ton of cliché moments, including a government interested in the ultimate “super-soldier” and a Malignant that looks a lot like a baby critter from Alien. Some of the comic does have touching moments involving children and this is one of the few interesting ideas this issue of Malignant Man touches on. The few secrets still in waiting are making me want to continue the reading the series. The art isn’t terrible, though not great either. The comic is mostly a mediocre one mostly seeming worse because of how great the first issue was. I hope future issues of Malignant Man won’t hit the same flat notes this issue did.
There you have it two views of The Malignant Man #2 out from Boom! Studios, but don't stop there. Go pick up the book and tell us what you think!