Banjax #2 // Review
After a dynamite first issue, the Banjax creative team returns for the next installment in this exciting new series. The creative team led by series writer Rylend Grant, artist Fabio Alves, colorist Edson Ferreira and letterer HdE dial back on the action in this issue, yet deliver another compelling story that focuses on Laird Mason alias Banjax’s protege Abel Raines alias Gyro. While issue one focused mainly on Banjax’s background, readers were treated to a blossoming student and teacher relationship that unfortunately turned sour. Feeling Banjax had finally gone too far, Gyro stopped him mid-rampage to the relief of the horrified crowd of onlookers. From there, the sky was the limit for Abel Raines who was able to avoid the pitfalls of stardom during his rise to prominence, unlike his former teacher. Issue two takes an intense psychological dive into the mind of Abel Raines as he tries to juggle running his billion dollar company Gyrotech and deal with the reemergence of Banjax after a five-year absence.
Able Raines is just days away from unveiling a new program that will more than double the profits of his company, and make people like Banjax obsolete. Raines, however, has been unable to sleep for days as he has yet to figure how to deal with Banjax, who seems more violent and unhinged as ever.
Series writer Rylend Grant gave such deep exposition on Laird Mason in issue one, that the reader couldn’t help but feel that they knew him intimately at the end of the issue. Issue two does the same for Abel Raines however in a different manner. Grant offers an intimate look at a man that is a ticking time bomb. Narrating his own experience, Raines has gone days without sleep as his new Cerberus program is set to launch within days, yet with Banjax on the loose those plans could go up in flames. Grant channels the creepiness of American Psycho as Raines gives a very detailed account of what the human body experiences due to sleep deprivation and the downward spiral that proceeds. While Raines isn’t given the detailed backstory that Banjax was, Grant still delivers a compelling look at a man who feels that this carnage falls on his shoulders and is something that could have and should have been stopped years ago. Rylend Grant gives Gyro a story arc different from Banjax, but one that will no doubt be equally as exciting, violent and could potentially lead to a psychotic break down. Time will tell on that however as the seeds were merely planted this issue for that possibility.
Fabio Alves has a knack for capturing detailed facial expression in his character designs. This issue sees that talent in spades. Focusing mainly on Abel, the reader will take note of his facial expressions as he is constantly struggling with his decisions. Alves also delivers another thug with a look of absolute terror on his face as he is tossed through a window by Banjax. These hyper-realistic designs really help drive the intensity of the storytelling without the use of words. Edson Ferreira uses what seems like way too much blue color throughout this issue however as the reader will notice it makes perfect sense. Throughout this issue, Abel Raines is usually in front of some sort of monitor, screen or tv camera, all of which give off a blue glow. This makes perfect sense for Raines, as he owns a giant tech company and would constantly be surrounded by monitors and such. It’s a stark difference from issue one, however, it fits the narrative perfectly. HdE showcases lettering work mimicking a crowd chanting outside of Gyrotech HQ. The text used is large, loud and help give the reader the impression that they can hear those raucous chants while reading those pages. HdE is quite helpful to the reader differentiating between Raines and the voices in his head manifested as Gyro his alter ego.
Rylend Grant and the creative team have a solid series on their hands. They set the bar quite high with their first issue, and while issue two didn’t quite meet that same bar it certainly didn’t lose any of the moment built from issue one. The stage is set for an eventual showdown between teacher and student. What remains to be seen though, is who will break first?