Written by Eric Borden, with art by David Mims and lettering by Spike O’Laochdha, Alterna Comic’s Scrimshaw #2 picks up where #1 left off, with Hans and the crew of the Runaway Horse preparing to catch a whale. The fish is called a behemoth and the story of where this species came from is full of holes and unknown forces at work, that make the prospect of eating mystery meat less than ideal. A full page image of two behemoths and a very tiny Runaway Horse is beautiful, with the ink more thick around the clouds and waves compared to the ocean depths. Is this to warn the ship, that unseen dangers lie below, or to contrast with the peaceful behemoths, who aren’t looking for trouble?
A good portion of this issue takes place at sea, but you almost don’t realize it. When on deck, the frames are angled to not include expansive shots of the water. Armed with the latest technology, the capture of the behemoth is mainly coordinated from control panels inside the bowels of the ship, giving the impression of being on a submarine more than a boat. It’s great for demonstrating how efficient the team works together but misses some of the action of less high-tech high seas adventures.
Mostly we get to know two of our antagonists better. After Hans and Saigo stole the auction item from the Kabuki Kowboy last time, big wig corporation, Tanto, wants it back. They’ve chosen wild card ex-con, Danny Yuda, for the job. Looking the part, with his bright blue patterned jacket, red headband, and hardy laugh, Danny is colourful but it’s the man in black, Mr. Song, who has the presence. Undisposed to hiring outside help for a job he could do himself, his focus is intimidating during an almost silent two page training session. He’s a man forever unsatisfied, kicking at an upbringing that makes him feel like he has something to proof. Mr. Song is the rival to watch.
Issue two is a piece mover, and I was surprised that the team of the Runaway Horse is already splitting up again, but the pieces are strong and whatever’s getting cooked up has a lot to work with. The bonus material at the end continues to be a surprise delight, with profiles of minor characters that may not be immediately recognized. Whether or not this extra attention foreshadows larger roles in issue three, it’s cool to know that anyone can become a significant player and that those who appear in the background are included there with intention.
Scrimshaw #2 is available to download here.