The Cull #2 is written by Kelly Thompson and published by Image Comics. Artwork and colours are by Mattia De Iulis and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The main cover art (left) is also by Mattia De Iulis.
The Cull #2 is available now, in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
Cleo’s confession elicits more fear than anger from the group, and everyone sticks together into the great unknown. Sentient mushrooms for everyone!
Okay, time to find out if Kelly Thompson and Mattia De Iulis’ The Cull – which I gave five stars last month – can keep up the momentum with its second issue. The answer, in short, is yes! The Cull #2 is a brilliant followup issue, it keeps the energy of the first issue whilst steering heavily in to the sci-fi aspects of the story.
When last we left our group of teens they had traversed low tide at Black Rock Beach in search of Cleo’s missing brother Jakey. Entering a cave near the shore then found themselves… somewhere… now it’s time to begin exploring this newfound alternate-Earth/other planet/other dimension that they have discovered.
I think we’ll do things back-to-front this month. Normally I’d talk story before artwork. But we need to spend some time on how much Mattia De Iulis is able to demolish all expectations this month. His rendering of our world and its characters was already mind-blowing. The level of realism that he bring is just insane. I’ve poured over issue one many times looking at the finer details. It’s almost photographic in detail. Honestly, it’s breathtaking. So now imagine taking that breathtaking sense of style and applying it to a world without convention and without preconceived rules.
I can’t quite wrap my head around how Kelly Thompson would have instilled the idea of rendering this world in the script. Perhaps it was more a discussion between the two. But the results are beyond imaginative. First of all the colour palette is brilliant. After the first issue began at night before progressing to daybreak, this issue is bathed in pinks and lush greens. There are plenty of familiar visual cues. This landscape still has a sky and water for instance. It’s a direct reflection of the environment they came from but it’s heightened beyond compare. Without spoiling too much, there are opportunities to glimpse at the kind of life living on this planet and the designs are equally fantastic.
I know what you’re thinking. With such a focus on world building there has to have been sacrifices elsewhere. Perhaps there’s less character this month. Or perhaps someone in the ensemble gets lost in the story with so many different plot threads all coming in to play. Well, I’m overjoyed to say that you are wrong!
The Cull #2 maintains the pacing, excitement and all of the character from issue #1. Thompson is somehow able to balance out five lead characters, infusing their exploration with plenty of conflict and just a dash of romance. I can’t help but wonder if this alien landscape is having some kind of effect on the characters. It seems that certain emotions have become heightened in the short time since they arrived. But what better way to provide an analogy to the real melodrama of being a teenager.
Once again Thompson leaves us on an scintillating cliffhanger. I’m still wondering how she will fit the whole story in to the remaining three issues. But given the pace at which we’re moving so far I’m comfortable in the knowledge there is (more than) enough story to fill the remainder of the series. There’s no danger of any padding here.
The second issue of The Cull is the perfect follow up. It maintains everything I loved about the first issue and heightens it with the introduction of this new alien landscape. I can’t wait to meet who lives here…
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