Most of issue #2 of Over The Garden Wall tells the story of Fred the Horse. Fred appears mostly out of nowhere, much like many characters and events. Characters from the television show are re-introduced (Uncle Endicott at the end of the issue) as well as The Highwayman, who, if recalled correctly, played a very minor role in one episode of the show. This kind of call back is especially satisfying for those familiar with the show, but doesn’t bog down a casual reader with too much exposition.
The main arc of this issue deals with how Fred the Horse transformed from a honest horse to one that loves to lie, cheat, and steal. His transformation was precipitated on a meeting with The Highwayman. After this ordeal, Fred is seen as dishonest and is sentenced to hard labor. Luckily for Fred, he happens upon Wirt and company. Beatrice lets Fred in on her secret to get the boys to Adelaide of the Woods (someone who fans of the show should recognize).
This issue of Over The Garden Wall is much more lively and humorous than the first. Pat McHale’s script is filled with levity and callbacks to the television series. McHale spends a lot of time focusing on Fred’s story and should have cut back some pages to focus more on Wirt and Greg. Even with this focus on Fred, it seems that all the players are in place, and the last two issues of this mini-series will focus on the journey to Adelaide byway of Uncle Endicott. This is exciting because these characters can be treated similarly or very differently than their television counterparts. The anticipation is a good thing.
The artwork by Jim Campbell is fun and exciting. The lines are simple, and no strokes go to waste. Campbell is at his best when making extremely emotional faces. The colors by Danielle Burgos complement Campbell’s artwork in many ways. The ever-autumnal scenes with Wirt and Greg give the book a vintage feel and at the same time the colors of Fred’s story are bold and creepy.
Pat McHale continues to make good strides with Over The Garden Wall. This issue will be satisfying to casual and overt fans of the series. The next two issues should provide even more chances for great interactions between the main characters. As always, hopefully more mystery is right around the corner.
Rating – 6.9/10