One of the highlights of Titan Comics’ Masked #1: Anomalies was Stéphane Créty’s pencils of cityscapes. It wasn’t that his Paris skyscrapers were unusual in design but that he managed to inspire awe from tall buildings that have become rectangles to be there, not seen. Lit and given depth by Gaétan Georges’ colors and Julien Hugonnard-Bert’s inks, it didn’t matter what angle Créty came at them—from above in futuristic air craft, or from the ground, looking up at all those windows. Skyscrapers caught the eye once more.

    I bring these cityscapes up again for issue two because, yes, they’re still around, but more than that you’re forced to re-evaluate why. If issue one made skyscrapers awesome, issue two makes them awful and menacing and leaves us no longer secure in the knowledge that they’re inanimate. It’s a realization that some readers may have already made on their own (which is the best kind, because it means the text prepared for it) but really comes to the fore after the Lightning Network broadcasts an interview on anomalies.

    In it the professor being interviewed solely mentions anomalies appearing in cities. This gets your mind thinking. We don’t know much about anomalies but we do know they are essentially self-made machines. Machines were always manmade and not alive so what does this mean, if machines are becoming self-assembling? These are questions usually reserved for robots and computers—complex technology taken too far by the hands of overzealous humans—but anomalies come in multiple forms. What if machines as “simple” as the skyscrapers that surround us have their own mind? What if, in building higher, we’ve steered evolution, and our shelters, against ourselves?

    Leaving that food for thought in the air, issue two provides some well-placed answers for questions posed in issue one. Anonymous Narrator’s source on Braffort’s military career turns out to be a who, not a what, when Braffort has a conjugal visit with Melissa Taleb. The other surviving member of his unit, we learn what she’s in prison for, and that a man had come around asking about him. In light of the prefecture’s recent job offer, Braffort thinks he could be behind the impromptu background check.

    Large segments in prison and a cave don’t inspire the comic’s most vibrant visuals, but a sequence where Braffort arrives at a deserted address, to meet the prefecture again, reeks of entitled power and confidence. It’s major government officials playing secret society and Braffort is the good guy stuck in the position to indulge them.

    Writer, Serge Lehman’s, thorough attention to detail (when Braffort tells scientist, Cleo Villanova, his sister has her thesis you can go back to issue one and find it on a desk) and various call backs to caped heroes and spirals from Incident 41, are turning Masked into the best kind of puzzle story. What hopefully doesn’t become too puzzling is whatever Masked is trying to say about Braffort at the end of this issue. Messing with a stand-up point of view character could seriously backfire and a lot rides on how Masked proceeds to explain things in issue three.

    Masked #2: Anomalies is available to download HERE.

    Rachel Bellwoar
    Fueled by Coca Cola ICEEs, Rachel Bellwoar collects TV seasons, reads comics, and tries to put her enthusiasm into words. She also shares the same initials (and first name) as Emmy winner, Rachel Bloom. If that brings her one step closer to being a triceratops in a ballet (please watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), she'll take it. Contact: rachel.bellwoar@thatsnotcurrent.com

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