Review: By The Horns: Dark Earth #2

By The Horns: Dark Earth #2

Elodie, Sajen, and Evelyn return to the port city of Lycus, where they hope to book passage on a ship to Yalastra, a continent that may hold the key to stopping the dark blight ravaging their homeland. But first, they’ll have to deal with some dangerous locals, who are none too happy with Elodie.

I had been saving this book to read, despite having it in my meaty (digital) hands for awhile until closer to its release date, and then I caught Covid-19 and any hope of me reading it in time to get the review ready and published in time was out the window. My brain felt like it has had a fog placed over it the last few days – not unlike a mild concussion – and yet for the most part my symptoms haven’t been too bad. All that said, there’s a reason I bring this up, because reading a comic by Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr (writer and artist/letter respectively) is always going to be a highlight in my to read pile, and despite this one taking me a bit longer to get to, By The Horns: Dark Eath #2 was just what I was hoping it would be; slightly depressing, and yet entirely wonderful.

As I said with the last review; there’s going to be very minor spoilers for this issue after this paragraph, so the condensed version of the review is (once again): go buy this book, add the rest to your pull list, and then buy the first volume.

Elodie and the world saving gang of wonderful misfits arrive in Lycus, a settlement that feels both horribly familiar to any who have ever lived in towns, or cities, that have fallen on hard times. Muhr’s designs for the streets look like could be taken from almost any modern town, minus the obvious (the denizens of Lycus), which builds on the uncomfortable sense you get from reading the book. The bleakness of the visuals exacerbates Naso’s script; this story is set after the world was saved, and yet… was it really saved?

The second issue of By The Horns: Dark Earth hits in ways I wasn’t quite expecting – granted, I was hoping that we’d see more of the stakes at, uh, stake…. (I don’t know what I was trying to say with that sentence, but I left it there because it kinda makes me chuckle in my fogged haze so I figured it may make you chuckle to. Or it might not. Either way) …now that Elodie has to save the world again; although this time she’s arguably saving it from her own actions which adds an interesting level of complexity to the situation that she and the gang find themselves in. This time she’s not out for revenge, but for more altruistic reasons.

Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr continue to go from strength to strength as a creative force, and are one of the few teams I’ll pick up anything they put out (and I literally mean that – despite being given review copies, I own the floppies and trades of their previous works). By The Horns: Dark Earth #2 is awesome – a chapter that’s going to work beautifully in the collected edition, but one you shouldn’t wait to read. This series is fresh, exciting, and head and shoulders above anything else on the racks right now.

Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Steve Cannon
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. Alex also purchased a physical copy of all comics/trades referenced within the review.

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