- Matthew Klein
- morgan beem
- Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
- Cover artist:
- morgan beem
- Editorial IDW
- Release date:
- triona farrell
In a world where society has grown tired of superpowered people fighting and endangering innocent bystanders, politicians are trying to ban superheroes and strip them of their health care rights. But Mass General’s Dr. Rose Osler is still on the fence, having to tend to superheroes by day and supervillains by night as her husband leads the rallying cry against the powers that be. As the walls begin to close in, Rose falls back into old destructive habits. dash IDW Publishing’s #2, written by Matthew Klein with illustrations by Morgan Beem, colors by Triona Farrell, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, is a grounded story that progressively takes its protagonist through a downward spiral with every page turn. .
dash Issue #2 picks up where the previous issue left off, leaving Rose with her shady client Gordian, who lies bleeding on his makeshift operating table. She returns home to her husband with a heavy heart, because she has broken a promise he made to both of them. But life goes on, and she finds herself treating another super person, Piper McNally, companion to the world’s greatest hero, Rex Glassman. Rose struggles with the hospital to keep the Supers in her care, as Piper’s struggles with her addiction hit her closer to home, and she wants to do everything in her power to help him. Unfortunately, the villainous Gordian has discovered Rose’s double life.
Klein walks the fine line between medical jargon and human drama for maximum effect. Rose’s narration is as apologetic as it is defensive, giving the audience a closer look at her struggles. The subtle differences between her words and actions become larger and larger as the book progresses, as do the consequences of the secrets she keeps. The reader can feel her resolve to help Piper fight her addiction. In a way, he wants to redeem himself through getting Piper back. It is easy to sympathize with her despite her hypocrisy. The superhero angle and the politics surrounding it are well crafted and fit into the narrative naturally.
Morgan Beem’s artwork is as expressive as it is meticulous, with each panel depicting a dramatic sequence. The artwork sways with the mood of the protagonist of it, and the facial expressions are absolutely on point. Her eyes reveal all the deceitful emotions festering within the characters like a pictorial lie detector test. Colorist Triona Farrell keeps up with the detailed illustrations and imprints her own stylistic impressions on each scene. The colors create the perfect atmosphere. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou presents an excellent variety of stylized texts that sometimes intersect with the artwork to a very moving effect.
dash #2 is a multi-layered story that requires the reader’s attention from start to finish, not because of any blink-and-you-miss action or intersecting narratives, but because of the protagonist’s slow descent into madness that builds with each interaction. The issue spans a long day, which is enough to push Rose over the edge when her guilt threatens to consume her. Just as the story is about to stall, Klein pulls out of the hat a clichéd supervillain move that nonetheless adds intrigue to the entire story, keeping readers eagerly awaiting the next issue.