A man named Manav Khurana trains at a gym. He, his friend, and girlfriend go out on the town, and Manav shows interest in the exploits of Rakshak. Then, they are approached by thugs.
We jump back to Aditya Shergill putting together the gear and support system that will make up the Rakshak. He gets military hardware, and the taxi driver offers to help transport him. After the Rakshak is created, Aditya and his niece witness a news story about a teenager who was raped by the spiritual leader of a borough occupied by semi-militant Muslims. Aditya’s reporter friend goes out to investigate, and Aditya knows that Rakshak will be needed in this crisis.
This setup and premise should easily make for a compelling gritty superhero tale, and, when Rakshak #2 works, it works well. Unfortunately, this comic suffers from the same problems that plagued the first installment of the series.
The pacing is incredibly slow, and it’s worsened by the walls of text that the comic throws at the reader. Admittedly, it does give the comic time to establish character relationships and interactions, but the mass of words will likely leave you bored, which is a big problem for a superhero comic.
That being said, the final act of this book is incredible. Rakshak infiltrates the district of the above-mentioned perpetrator and fights through mobs of baddies. The comic takes a lot of notes from the original Oldboy, and it leaves the action segments spectacularly fun.
Plus, there is something to be said about how the comic goes out of its way to not paint all followers of Islam as evil; it specifies the problems in the particular sect of that spiritual leader. Even then, it humanizes the ones Rakshak fights a lot more than most stories would.
Also, this comic loves superhero fare from the Big Two, and there’s something really heartwarming about that. This is a comic from halfway around the world, and the creators have been inspired to create their own art from the likes of Batman, Daredevil, and the Phantom.
Pramit Santra’s artwork allows for these fight scenes to flow so well. They’re well structured, impactful, and kinetic. While some of the faces can look a little under-detailed at times, the comic really comes alive whenever there is a fight scene. Plus, Rakshak’s visual design is unique. Prasad Patnaik’s color art is on the darker and dirtier side, but it makes sense for the atmosphere that the comic is trying to create. It’s not visually exciting, but it is fitting.
Rakshak: A Hero Among Us #2 is quite close to being something amazing if only the comic can cut down on the text walls and speed up the pacing. I can recommend this comic even with the caveats, but it is certainly worth keeping those caveats in mind. Regardless, feel free to check it out.
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