Alterna Comic’s Corktown #2 written by Mario Candelaria, art by Scott Ewen, is a flashback issue that goes over the day Torrie was turned into a ghost, her body into a vampire. A lot plays out the way you would expect, and the pace can seem slow but deliberate, with the confidence of a noir that has no reason to rush. Already in pursuit of the felon that kills her when the flashback starts, readers who hoped a trip to the past would reveal more about Torrie’s relationship with her partner, Williams, might feel a little teased by the continued wait for something more substantial than ‘they were colleagues who got along.’ Assumptions can be made by how poorly he’s taking care of himself during the investigation, but guilt doesn’t require friendship. Still, I prefer to look at these extensions as demonstrative of a comic with a firm grip on where the story is going and the assurance to take its time.
There are also atmospheric benefits of slowing down, and confirming the basics of what happened to Torrie. It gives the comic a concrete mythology. It allows for some spectacular representations of grief, starting with a present day scene, where Williams is staring at the evidence board and tacks up a picture of Miles, who died last issue. It would’ve been easy for the series to never speak of Miles again but this mini-memorial, with Torrie visibly stricken by his loss, means he mattered as more than a device for explication, but a person, who will be missed.
Williams’ haze in the aftermath of Torrie’s death is the issue’s biggest takeaway. With dialogue bubbles regressing to scribbles (another great effect by letterer, Zakk Saam), shock prevents Williams from comprehending anything others are saying. Grief becomes completely visual. Paired with the completely visual horror reawakening of Torrie’s corpse in the morgue, and a triple panel following Torrie’s transformation from human to ghost, and it’s a showcase for Ewen’s work.
I’m really enjoying the build-up of rookie, Jonihan, and there was only one scene, towards the end, where a cop is checking a suspicious vehicle, where I lost my bearing. Closing with some insights on a new power Corktown vampires have (maybe two, depending on how high you judge the sun to be in the last panel) there are still plenty of questions to fuel issue three, including whether these vampires have an agenda or are picking their victims by chance.