So, after an opening issue that hit the right notes but struggled with originality, can ’68 Homefront #2 be any more succesful? Well, like the last issue, there are certainly a lot of things to consider.
First, the official description from Image:
Horror haunts the heartland in this action-packed conclusion to the ’68: PEECE AND LOVE story arc. Harbinger, Pennsylvania, home of the Heralds, transforms from peaceful American small town to undead slaughterhouse as a pep rally becomes a battleground, a family doctor stands guard over his personal gateway to hell, and a teenage couple fights for love and each other amongst monsters both supernatural and all too human. The second of four issues, featuring a script by series writer MARK KIDWELL and gruesome artwork by KYLE CHARLES and JAY FOTOS (’68: HALLOWED GROUND), continues to bring 1960s zombie horror back to “the world.”
Straight away, this issue feels very similar to the last. While it is told and presented well, the title as a whole simply riffs on too many themes and motiffs of the time – or, more specifically, movies at the time. Everything feels like an immiation and this issue, especially, focuses so much on the boyfriend-girlfriend drama that the zombies take a back seat.
A lot of these problems come down to pacing. Mark Kidwell captures the atmosphere perfectly, but forgets to add enough drive or direction. For instance, this is the second issue and we still have dumb dialogue between characters ‘learning’ to shoot in the head. I get the realism, but when you’re playing with a well known trope or monster it sometimes helps to cut to the chase. These hiccups slow the issue down and lose its sense of direction.
Visually, however, this issue is much more satisfying. The artwork is very much the same, with Kyle Charles on pencil duty and Jay Fotos on colours. The artwork is a little sketchy and loose, but it’s well detailed and gets sthe point across. The choice of colour is a little bleak, with drab browns and greens, but it does work. Fotos adds in blue, red and other color on the zombies, so it does break up a little. Still, given the tone of the comic itself, few other styles would really be acceptable, anyway.
All in all, fans of the first will love this. My main problem is understanding whether this is for hardcore zombie fans or for new readers looking to explore a well told story. In either case, it’s certainly enjoyable, but its formulaic plot elements hold it down too much.