Z-Girl: The Odyssey #2 is infinitely better than the premier issue. The characters still have development issues and the artwork has some distracting quirks, but the story has gotten much better and the monstrous creations the team comes up with are always enjoyable to see.
Z-Girl, a zombie in charge of protecting the four tiger spirits and their respective hosts, has her hands full when the team excavates a site with numerous relics that are a bit more life-like than they appear. Even if her team survives, there are even more dangerous forces waiting in the wings to take back the tablets her team has been gathering, tablets that hint at Z-Girl's sinister past.
Most of the questionable stylistic choices and story problems from the first issue are solved in this issue of Z-Girl. The structure is the same: the opening is a flashback. But unlike the previous issue, only one line is followed by a ..., an annoying trademark the first issue had repetitiously every sentence. The opening flashback in this one is also much easier to understand with little trouble distinguishing odd words like from names (not to say there weren't some confusing moments). It was also a much more powerful moment, giving us more insight into Z-Girl's handsome cohort. His background somewhat revealed, it has real emotion in it. This not only adds to the story, but the character's likeability.
Another improvement is the lack of boring conversation littered with techno-babbling. The scientists that never seem to have anything interesting (or at least understandable) to say barely appear in this issue, and when they do the director of DW Headquarters tells them to cut the chatter and treat him like a 3rd grader. His character is not often on panel, but he does manage to leave a lasting humorous impression on the reader.
But that is something lacking in this issue that the previous one could boast: the humor spurted every other page by Z-Girl and her comrade has died down in this issue, with little dialogue even coming from Z-Girl.
Z-Girl is characterized as a humorous gal with her past keeping the many mysterious threads constant throughout the series, but she rarely has any quips like in the first issue. She is not downplayed in this issue, and there are many intense moments with her, whether she be fighting or hallucinating about her past.
The biggest concern with this issue of Z-Girl is the same problem Static Shock had, but at a much smaller and less atrocious scale. There are a good number of characters and little are cared about by reader or writer, nor are any given proper origins.
The new red host is a very interesting character, given one great scene. The problem is it's only one scene. There was also only one scene showing the red host in the last issue, meaning very little process has been made with the character, who would be much more enjoyable if she was in more of the comic.
All the scientists continue to be boring with only the help of the director keeping them from stealing precious panel time. Only one scientist is really needed. Two more characters are also introduced as unnecessary back-up for Z-Girl and the hosts, with the exception of one who is cleverly used as fodder for a mystical tablet, establishing an important plot point (and also a great excuse for the artist to show off some of his skills).
The stylistic choices of Kirk Manley continue to be the same. Some of the character's faces are a bit hard to enjoy with so many lines and shadows covering them up. The designs throughout, however, continue to be creative. The costumes on every character are well-thought out and the older ones clearly represent their time line (though only history books know how accurate they are). But readers will be especially awed when they are given a smorgasbord of creatures to see, each uniquely designed, but all just as imaginative and enjoyable.
Z-Girl: The Odyssey #2 is a huge improvement from the first issue but still has a few kinks to work out. The artwork sometimes revels in lines too much and the storyline goes all over the place, seemingly introducing random characters that offer nothing to the plot. Even the numerous villains seem thrown into the mix for the sake of diversity rather than substance. Still, this issue is enjoyable and if you lasted through the first one and liked it, this isn't just more of the same, but an (imperfect) upgrade.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.