Talk us through itbr>
Continuing on directly from events in Volume I we find the Son apparently confronted by his father, who has gained enlightenment by suicide. The Son must resolve the out of order nature of his own list and find his way on the path of his quest independent of his father's influence.
A chance meeting in a park allows the Son to bring his list back into alignment and to further meet the requirements of his quest. We are left pondering who is "the unknowing successor", and whether or not an Angel is the result of the Son's fragmented mind or actually exists?
If you thought Volume I was coming in from left field then Volume II is going to leave you dazed and confused! Lets break it down.
"The Angel will understand that my violation of the list was not intentional." - Son
The second Volume of Paul Bedford's The List is like finding a blood coated meat cleaver on your kitchen table that you vaguely remember from a nightmare set in an abattoir you had the night before. It's stark, uncompromising in the morning sunlight streaming through the curtains, and it does promise you dark secrets that you may not want to unravel. This graphic novel probably wont appeal to balanced minds, just as well then that horror fans tend so be slightly unhinged, this one is for us brothers and sisters, lets continue our trip to enlightenment.
Paul Bedford's writing skills are to the fore early in Volume II. He simply lines up the big goal posts and kicks a major with apparently very little effort. You have to admire a writer that's not giving anything away in terms of quality regardless of the medium he or she are writing for. Without giving away any spoilers here, may be saying that a lot in this review, the first panel of Volume II reprises the last panel of Volume I, there's an inherent conflict that needs to be resolved, and Bedford takes time out of his busy schedule to get that done and dusted. The Son is in a rebellious mood after getting his list out of synch and is asserting himself against his father's dictates, the list is his own after all. In a normal family, perhaps like one appearing on Neighbours, the Son would have stomped out of the house and hooned off to the nearest milk bar after an argument. Thankfully in The List the family isn't anything like normal, arguments are likely to have fatal consequences dependant on Angel dictates.
It's at this stage that we start to see the strength in Paul Bedford's writing and his vision for The List. Having asserted himself, the Son must re-integrate his father, the enlightened being, into his fantasy. If you haven't picked up on it yet, The List is less supernatural religious allegory, and more Psycho Roos bounding around the top paddock. In short the Son's psychosis can not be allowed to shatter, else it'll all come tumbling down, the structure of his world view must remain unbroken and unblemished. Without giving anything away Bedford accomplishes this, it rings true, and you the reader are not getting short changed by a simplistic solution.
Having established the home environment is a charnel house, did I mention Mom? - if not I'll leave that as a discovery for the reader, Paul Bedford turns his attention to moving the plot along and furthering our understanding of what the quest might involve. The Son runs into a duo of would be rapists in a rain swept park late at night, who thankfully are going to provide the means for him to get his list back on track. We learn the road to enlightenment is paved with pain, the Son makes your typical avenging Angel look like a Tellytubbie, once a commandment from the list is meet it must be removed from the list (ouch!!!), and the Son is coming onto the radar of the authorities.
You get the feeling Paul Bedford is sharpening his knives in Volume II ready to take his pound of flesh, yes there will be blood, in the second half of The List. I'm pretty sure we are still in the shallow end of the blood pool at this stage with new depths of insanity and depravity to swim through in the next volume. For sure the Writer has the reader hooked and it's going to be with some unease I'm sure that we'll wait for future offerings from The List.
Naturally the reader is left with a few things to ponder while waiting for Volume III to hit the streets. Who is the "unknowing successor" and is an Angel motif a continued symbol for the Son's unbalanced view of the world? I am also still wondering if the Father is the root cause of the Son's current mental instability, in which case sign on the suicide dotted line, or is just another element in it? Guess more will be revealed in due course, just as this instalment threw a reddish hued light on the mother's "sacrifice".
Henry Pop and Tom Bonin remain dedicated to bringing the story to life in all it's harsh tones, neither artist is taking a backward step in lifting the shroud from The List, and are depicting each panel as vividly as possible. This graphic novel is getting down and gory, I hate to think what the two Artists would come up with if they decided to get the crayons out and go full colour. Special mention of the full page panel when we finally meet mom, and the inserts proving our darkest thoughts in this direction were spot on. The panel is impactful, necessarily blood splattered, and one hell of a jolt that will have you sitting up and taking notice. There's a reason for that "Mature Content Warning" appearing on the front cover.
Wayne Nichols throws another superb cover at us, in a stylish noir fashion. There's something about Nichols work that speaks above the simple depictions used. I'm guessing it's due to the Artist's ability to slice directly to the heart of the matter and leaving the viewer to join the dots. Nichols is ahead of us at this stage of our road to enlightenment.
A couple of readers have written in wondering about the content of the graphic novel. Thought I had it covered people, try to keep up please. Warning: Adult language, horror themes, and extreme violence. That good enough for ya? This isn't a Walt Disney shrill the rubes duck outing, this one's coming at you from the dark heart of horror, if that doesn't appeal then go read Twilight or something similar.
Summary Execution ...br> br> I simple devoured Volume II, it's a page turner folks, and had to go back and force myself to slowly read through it a couple of more times to get the full nuances and jive to the excellent artwork on display. The book is deceptively simple, a second reading will inform you that there's a lot more happening here than it would first appear. I've got the feeling I'll review each Volume as they are released and then do a review of the entire graphic novel, start to finish. That way I get to read The List again and again.
The List Volume II: An Honouring of the Third Commandment is available from the official site for $16.50 AUD. This represents extreme value for money as you get 72 pages, a 250gsm colour cover, and 100gsm pages. Anyone else thinking collectors item? Actually the site itself, we've linked it, is worth checking as it's updated regularly with news items and about anything to keep the ever expanding fan base happy with life.
Volume II of The List continues the story and dark themes of the first volume. You are going to need to read them in sequence so if you haven't read the first Volume than make it a double purchase with Volume II. Believe me you will not want to wait on delivery times after reading the first release, yes it's that good. The road to enlightenment is painful, and that pain for us the readers is waiting on the next instalment. My first commandment is to read all four Volumes, make it yours!
ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...br> br> Paul Bedford and team are rocking the house down.