Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Elena Anchova has had it with no good terrorists and conspiracies. This time? She’s out for revenge.
Writers: Darren Pearce and Stuart Jennett
Illustrator: Stuart Jennett
Letterer: Donna Jennett
Elena: Divinity Rising #2 continues immediately where the first issue leaves off. As fellow CIA agent Alex chases down an unidentified assailant in a New York subway, a bomb is detonated, causing the ceiling to collapse. Elena, arriving late to the scene, defies orders to wait for backup and treads further into the tunnel with the hope of finding Alex alive. Her will is strong, but will she be successful, or will she find something far more dangerous?
This issue is a step up from the first, packed with character development and raw emotion. Readers experience another side of Elena we hadn’t before. Backing away from the attitude-driven, punk rock teen persona we were originally dealt with, Pearce and Jennett reveal some more of Elena’s endearing qualities. Through her actions and perseverance, we’re reminded that Elena isn’t just a strong and brash agent with special abilities to be taken advantage of. She’s more than a weapon and a generic protagonist. At the heart of it all, she’s still a young woman full of compassion and a difficult past, one with fears and desires. With issue #2, Pearce and Jennet provide a much-needed balance to her character.
Continuing to include flashbacks of her past, we get a better idea of why Elena is so determined to help the CIA and seek retribution. Since childhood, her life has been filled with treachery and lies. It’s no wonder she appears distrustful and apathetic the first time we meet her. Moreover, seeing how her relationships unfold with the ones she does trust and are determined to protect becomes intriguing.
Issue #2 lacks the same level of action as the previous issue, but is honestly better off without it. The pacing is absolutely perfect. There is enough dialogue to push the story forward in a positive and thrilling direction without being bogged down by exposition. There are, however, parts in the story where dialogue could have been left out or cut down, relying on the art instead to speak for itself. The occasional use of “ack” and “argh” was also kind of funny. In instances like these, the scenes become awkward and unrealistic, but are in no way a deal breaker.
The panels, dialogue bubbles, and scenes naturally and beautifully transition into the next, making the experience of reading effortless. The flashbacks were timely placed within the story. It created a wonderful parallel for what happened to Elena in the past and what was happening to her in the present. However, there was one flashback that seemed out of place, mainly because it followed another unrelated flashback.
The art is amazing for a spy book and shows off Jennett’s talents. The way he communicates emotion is excellent. No words are needed to express the anguish, worry, anger, or determination each character experiences. It’s written all over their faces. Jennett, having to work with at least 6 different settings throughout the issue, does not skimp on the details. He makes each setting unique, using distinct colors and adding background details when necessary to set the tone. Some settings are more austere than the others, but it works.
The contrast of colors throughout the issue greatly brings out each scene. For instance, the blue and black undertone of the subway pages is somber, yet electrifying. The vibrant blues of the CIA control room emphasizes severity and secrecy. And the flashbacks, which are set in gray scale, reflect a tragic, ominous past. The only complaint is the last scene in the issue. While it should have been a powerful one, the coloring was so dark you couldn’t read the text.
Overall, Elena: Divinity Rising #2 is heading towards an exhilarating climax, with two issues left to go. Having learned more about Elena’s mother and her mother’s connection to CIA nemesis, Kalikov, in the issue, we’ll soon see how it all affects the present and what they want with Elena.
Get your copy today, available at In2TheReview and soon on ComiXology.
4.0 out of 5.0
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.