A pair of mysterious sorcerers speak of uniting something called the Quorum before we return to Anna and Coyote Bones exploring the Backways. Coyote Bones explains the rules of magic, the different “Knacks” people can have, and what the Backways is to Anna. Things, as they often do, get more complicated from here. Coyote Bones has a lot of people unhappy with her in the Backways.
Backways #2 expands this world and makes it clearer what the rules of magic are in this universe. That’s an important thing to do early on in a story like this, as magic is an inherently amorphous and wily concept since its base definition is the ability to bend the rules of reality.
Anna continues to be a hard nut to crack. She is deadly serious and determined to find Sylvia. We learn more of her backstory, but the veil of determination never fades away. She’s oddly easygoing regarding the mind-blowing concepts that Coyote Bones and the Backways are throwing at her. We do learn that she is hiding something significant, but she never cracks a smile, shows wonder, or makes a joke.
Meanwhile, Coyote Bones continues to steal the show with her boundless personality and fantastic visual design. She is high-energy, having a lot of fun, and appears to be something like the Han Solo of the Backways. Everyone knows her. She owes everyone. She’s also very good at getting out of paying those debts.
There are some more significant forces at work here, and we get the occasional glimpse of what those are. There is a mystery at the heart of Backways, and it’s very good at teasing the reader about it in subtle ways.
Eleonora Carlini’s artwork gets an opportunity to shine and even get crazy while depicting the Mos Eisley-by-way-of-Chinatown that is the Backways. The environment is littered with bizarre creatures, eye-catching decoration, and magical conjurations. The character designs continue to be very creative, and I’m in love with the design of Coyote Bones in particular. The faces and expressions are very much anime-inspired, and they mix very well with the more Western comic elements of Carlini’s work. Everything is very lively and full of energy. This is aided by Silvia Tidai’s vibrant color art, which helps bring all of this together in a rather gorgeous fashion.
The mystery of Sylvia, Anna, and Coyote Bones deepens as we explore the Backways themselves this issue. This is a deep world, and Justin Jordan is pacing its revelations in an economic yet tantalizing fashion. This is a fun and intriguing read, and it earns a recommendation. Check it out.
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