Written by J. Michael Stracynski
Drawn by Ben Templesmith
After the first issue of this series debuted I was really taken with its mixture of intriguing premise and moody art so I was really looking forward to this follow-up second issue. Right from the simplistic but haunting cover (I went for the Ben Templesmith one) I knew I was in for another quality read.
The issue carries on where issue 1 ended, with Joe Fitzgerald investigating the disappearance of a local girl who had ties to a faux religious sect led by a demonic figure from the former hit-man’s past who was responsible for the murder of Joe’s wife and Joe himself…
Last issue we were left with the enticing cliffhanger where we saw that Joe was saved from going to hell and resurrected by angels as their enforcer against the demons hiding out on earth and in return, every time Joe dies a righteous death he will get to spend 5 minutes with his wife’s spirit before he is resurrected. In this issue we got to see some pay-off from this.
Over the course of the issue and Joe investigating the disappearance of the girl he is killed and we get to see the other side as he visits his wife for those 5 minutes. It was an incredibly poignant moment. Stracynski has done an incredible job over the first two issues of portraying Joe’s love for his wife and the sadness of his loss of her so it really sold this scene.
Having recently lost my mother I was incredibly moved by the scene where Joe meets his wife after he dies and narrates what goes through his head. I’ve often thought that if I were to get to talk to my mother again, what would I do? What would I say? JMS tackles these questions head-on and Joe is a conduit for these questions and feelings. Seeing his lost loved one for such s limited time is torture and it would be for anyone. How it is wrote and drawn is perfect, the intense emotion seeping from the page to the reader.
Again writer JMS crafts a great script with more clever concepts and twists than you can shake a crucifix at. I particularly loved the concept he introduces where demons inhabit a body so that they can experience senses like touch and taste, which they can’t do in their own bodies. The ending also made me raise my eyebrow with its reveal and definitely shows that this story isn’t as black and white, angels vs. demons etcetera as one might think.
Artist Ben Templesmith again excels at rendering the issues visuals and I couldn’t see any other artist drawing this book. I hate to go back to that one scene with Joe in the afterlife with his wife as the entire issue is great but that one scene is truly what elevates this book into must-read territory. The use of color, shadow, the way he draws the emotion on both character’s faces and their body posture just conveys the love in their embrace.
There isn’t much more I can say about this issue or series except that you need to buy it now. If you aren’t currently reading Ten Grand, you are truly missing out on one the best books on the shelves.
5 out of 5 nerds