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Spontaneous #2 – Review

The premise behind this book is that spontaneous combustion can really happen to people, but that there is a dark force that is behind it. The stories main character Melvin has been affected by this all his life and has dedicated himself to finding out more while hiding a secret of his own. The second issue opens with a flashback of Melvin’s childhood in which a bully is calling him Kelvin Melvin. It’s mostly harmless until the bully throws matches at him and a sinister voice only Melvin can hear tells him to “Show them all.”

In the present Melvin wakes up on the lawn of the house that exploded with him at the door step, he’s okay but still takes a trip to the hospital. Afterwards Melvin shows the amateur investigative reporter Emily Durshmiller his findings on the combustions. She’s apprehensive to believe him and leaves his house with mixed feelings about Melvin and his own investigation.

Spontaneous 2 Cover.jpgThis book is strange. The first issue which also comes out this week (if you didn’t get it on FCBD) didn’t grab me at first like I expected. The concept is there, the storytelling is there for the most part, but I can’t get into the characters. I feel like I don’t know them and they’re all a little annoying. It’s okay to have one or two characters that are annoying, hell that’s the real world, but every character that opens their mouth is annoying at some point. I really found myself focusing on the mystery of the story and Melvin when he wasn’t being annoying. Melvin really is the only fleshed out character and that instantly makes him more interesting and his behaviors forgivable.

The story is written by Ghost Projekt writer Joe Harris and this being his second creator owned book with Oni Press. Harris has great concepts, but his characters tend to fall flat. The main problem with Ghost Projekt is the same problem with Spontaneous… forgettable characters. They’re character driven stories, meaning nothing happens without our main character pushing the plot forward and yet that character stumbles around through seemingly random acts. Hopefully Harris will continue to develop Melvin more than he did with the protagonists of Ghost Projekt.

The art is very good and wonderfully illustrated by Brett Weldele (Surrogates). Weldele has a beautiful water color look to each page that is reminiscent of Ben Templesmith’s coloring style. It works for the book giving it a very distinct look and really distracts the reader for the story at times. Weldele shows a great range of talents from convincing facial expressions to capturing Melvin at different ages. It’s an interesting and unique art style that adds a lot to the book.

The concept and underlining mystery to the book is enough to get me checking out the third issue for sure, but after that the story is really going to have to pull its weight if it’s going to hook me for a fourth. If you pick up both issues you may have a better reading experience than I did since you’ll have the benefit of reading both issues back to back with a fresh prospective. It’s a decent series thus far, but it has a long way to go if it’s going to stand out as indie darling.



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