Thursday, November 5, 2015

Survivors’ Club #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

I’d Never Join A Club That’d Have Me As A Member

Written By: Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen
Art By: Ryan Kelly, Eva de la Cruz, Clem Robins
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 4, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

They say that which does not kill you makes you stronger. Looking at the members of the Survivors’ Club, that’s a terrifying thought. Turns out that overcoming some horrifying, traumatic event doesn’t necessarily equate to you becoming a good or likeable person. Our story continues right where we left our happy club, now having gone their separate ways to pursue their own agendas. What are those agendas? What secrets about the members of this club will be revealed in this issue? Is there a secret handshake and maybe a funny hat to signify allegiance to this club? Probably not, but you’ll find out if you read on!

Explain It!

Our last issue concluded with quite a cliffhanger, revealing that Survivor’s Club meeting hostess Alice has a twin or doppelganger of some sort that is inactive while she is active. We learn this because Alice goes upstairs after the meeting and conks out in order to activate the other Alice. In the present day, Other Alice goes out with Simon Wickman, the guy who survived the horrifying family-killing events of the Muskagee House (which is totally not an analogue of the Amityville Horror), to an art show in Los Angeles’ Echo Park. They return to Wickman’s apartment to, you know, watch Netflix and chill. Alice pores over Wickman’s horror memorabilia collected through the years, and he flips out when she picks up what looks to be a flowered handkerchief or some kind of printed cloth. Seems this is the only thing left from the Muskagee House incident, the mention of which starts putting these two creepbags in the mood.

Cut to San Lazaro Hospital across town, where the rest of the Survivors’ Club are harassing Grant Fuchs, who you may remember was the guy who almost died beta testing a mysterious video game. He mumbles all sorts of crazy shit and then names Akheron, which is the name of the village-destroying and dad-killing video game she played as a kid in South Africa. That’s when the medic Teo, also a member of the Survivinators, steps in to suggest that maybe provoking a hospitalized young man into a hysterical seizure isn’t the best medical practice. Chenzira eases up and the trio agrees to go down the yellow brick road off to see the wizard, or something.

Remember Harvey Lisker, the guy who was invited to the Survivors’ Club meeting last issue but couldn’t make it because he was busy murdering a playground full of people? Well, he finally made it to Alice’s house, albeit a little late, and he knocks on the door. Alice is in her “off state,” but the knocking awakens her and she goes to get the door. Simultaneously, Other Alice and Simon are getting bizz-zay and Other Alice begins to remove to dress, revealing to the reader one of those pull strings you used to see on the backs of dolls in order to make them talk. Nowadays, I guess you probably just link up to Teddy Ruxpin via Bluetooth and he tries to sell you on the idea of living in a tiny home while a catalog of a billion pop songs plays softly in the background. Just as Alice awakes in her house, Other Alice conks out in Simon Wickman’s, which probably comes as a surprise because he hadn’t even slipped her the knock-out drops. Not yet, anyway.

At Alice’s house, Harvey decides to chop her up in her own foyer, which does snap Other Alice back to attention but has severely drained her of horniness. Despite Simon’s desperate pleas, she takes off to see Alice, while Harvey Lisker sits in his truck and lets the voice in his head, who sounds suspiciously like one of his mom’s ex-boyfriends, berate him as he cries. Indeed, we get a nice flashback sequence of Lisker’s childhood, including the introduction of his invisible friend Mr. Empty, who would be the same one exhorting him to kill in the present day.

Then we switch over the Chenzira and the gang, and frankly I really could care less about this part of the book at this point. Something about a team of video game developers who went crazy using the same code from the haunted game or whatever—look, I get it. The video game is bad mojo. Now get to the part where they play it or concentrate on the much more interesting story happening with Alice, Other Alice, Harvey Lisker and Simon Wickman. Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot more of the other story: Other Alice comes home to find Alice all chopped up and bloody just inside the front door, gathers up her body parts, and starts upstairs with vengeance on her mind!

There were really three stories happening here simultaneously: Simon and Other Alice, Alice and Harvey, and Chenzira, Kiri and Teo. Problem is, two of these stories were somewhat compelling while the third was a total bore. Some nice artwork in this book and it had some solid plotting, but overall it was paced too slow, especially Harvey’s flashback which goes on for four pages! It just seems unnecessary. You could certainly do worse for your four bucks, but you could also save that four bucks and someday it might turn into four dollars and fifty cents. So make your move.

Bits and Pieces:

We learn a little bit more about several characters in the Survivors’ Club, but it really isn’t enough to keep me wanting to know more, excepting maybe Alice. And I don’t want it so badly that I would wade through a dull comic book every month to find out about her. The artwork fits the mood of the book wonderfully, but the pacing is a little too slow with too few payoffs for my liking. Here’s hoping this book can…survive…its sophomore slump, hmmmm? Okay I’ll show myself out.


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