The Holy Roller #2 features a story by Rick Remender, Andy Samberg and Joe Trohman. The book is published by Image Comics. Artwork is by Roland Boschi, colours by Moreno Dinisio and letters by Rus Wooton. Main cover art (left) is by Boschi and Dinisio.
The Holy Roller #2 is available now, in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
How bad must things get before we rise to face them? Levi Cohen spent his life believing the world was getting better, but he must now face the fact that he was wrong. Evil things thought long buried have taken root. And something must be done.
Time for round two of The Holy Roller. I left issue one feeling a little unsure about the longevity of the book. Whilst its message of intolerance towards antisemitism is important. Its penchant for college humour detracts from this and so I was keen to see whether issue #2 would find balance.
We pick up right where we left off. Following his brutal attack on Clyde and is Neo-Nazi gang, Levi is back at home with his father. Footage of the attack has made the news with the police labelling Levi – still unidentified – as a murderer. When his old friend Jamal arrives events begin to spiral out of control, leading Levi to take the next step towards vigilantism.
Issue #2 of The Holy Roller has a much better sense of pacing then its debut. Perhaps the double-length issue struggled under the weight of those extra pages. Here it feels like the writer trio of Remender, Samberg and Trohman are much more succinct. The relationships continue to develop whilst the action also feels swifter and more integrated in to the overall storytelling. There are still moments where the less developed humour attempts to cut through. But on the whole it seems like any awkward missteps were relegated to issue #1. There is still work to be done to balance the tone of The Holy Roller however.
The book functions at its best with the action really gets going. As Clyde and his gang arrive at Levi’s father’s house it stops trying to function and simply does. It’s clear there’s a burning passion to create a successful property. But sometimes that conscious effort to strive for success can fluster and distract from what’s working on the page. Once that melts away The Holy Roller is a great read. The action in David’s house is as intense as the street brawl in issue #1. The use of the bowling bowl is easily giving the book (and its burgeoning hero) some cool iconography. Name me one other hero with a bowling ball without Googling…
Coming back to pacing for a moment, Clyde doesn’t feel like a character who has a particular longevity as a villain. Whilst there are no hints towards it so far, it seems like he will be the figurehead who triggers Levi to take on the wider antisemitism in his Ohio town. In that respect Clyde is the perfect, moustache-twirling Neo-Nazi to take us through the first chapter of this journey. Perhaps his father, now the mayor, will factor in to the story once he gets words of what has happened?
Roland Boschi’s artwork also feels like it has found its groove this month. The Holy Roller is undoubtedly the cure to standard super hero fare in every aspect. Boschi feels fully focussed on this issue. Not that there was anything wrong last month. But there’s now a level of consistency which feels like an artist moving from introducing a world to fully existing within it.
A solid follow-up issues which doubles down on the best aspects of its debut. The Holy Roller is successfully moving on from its few awkward moments and finding its groove as a brutal, culturally relevant property.