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‘The Last Broadcast’ #2 – a very strange series

‘The Last Broadcast’ #2 – a very strange series

The Last Broadcast #2The Last Broadcast #2
Written by Andre Sirangelo
Illustrated by Gabriel Iumazark
Lettered by Debron Bennett
Published by Boom! Studios

The Last Broadcast continues its story of urban exploration, a long-dead magician, and some sort of occult conspiracy. Ivan is being sucked deeper and deeper into a mystery that involves the Society of Psychic Investigation, a group of UrbEx aficionados, the long-dead magician Blackhall, and his missing friend Dmitri. While the series is still developing its promise and potential, the art style is really something worth picking up

The episode begins by recapping Blackhall’s death on a crowded stage in London. We then flash forward to Ivan in the hospital bed, where Ella is asking him questions about his background as a magician and the things he had in his backpack. Ivan starts looking for Dmitri by visiting a rare book store, where he shows the owner the photograph left in Dmitri’s apartment. The picture was embedded with a digital signature, and before Ivan leaves, he’s given a book with the Society of Psychic Investigation’s logo. Largely through happenstance, he gives chase to a shadowy figure who leads him to a door emblazoned with the same signature as the photograph. When he goes in, he meets Niko and Harumi. They recognize the picture as one that they took, and together, they prepare to go underground.

Last-Broadcast-002-PRESS-4-4c648This issue reads easier than the first one because there’s more action and investigative work going on. Still, this is a mystery, and the problem with mystery stories is that you never know whether or not they’re brilliant until they’ve finished. So much of the story and action is wrapped up in the final moments that it can be hard to let go and just enjoy the story. Last Broadcast is not exempt from this, and these issues will succeed or fail in large part due to how the mystery unfolds. Thankfully, this book has a few other things going for it to make it enjoyable in the interim. For one, Ivan is an entertaining character, as when he disarms Harumi by telling her an absurd story about geese just to put her off balance. Harumi and Niko likewise promise to be interesting characters.

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Gabriel Iumazark’s manga fusion style works so well here because each character still looks distinct from the others. There are a few panels you have to read slowly or reread because the dark coloring makes it vague, but given the dark atmosphere at work here, it’s a relatively easy comic to read. It certainly gives you a new kind of San Francisco, one much darker and grimier than what we’re used to. I haven’t spent much time working on the puzzle in the opening pages (in part because it’s hard to read the fine print in a PDF). If the series keeps going at this pace, we’ve got a solid mystery in front of us.

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