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– by Tim Jousma

When we ended issue 1 of Charge from Alterna Comics, the group of scientists at Comtech in 1975 had just been visited by a group of mercenaries from the future. We interspersed between 1975 and 2017, finding out some sort of war was happening but didn’t have much of a clue as to what that war was. When it came to the first issue, I was pretty critical. The art was fine apart from some minor critiques. The main issue I had was the setup for the story just didn’t hit the right notes for me. Would issue 2 make up for it?

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In a word, yes. While not perfect (and hey, what comic is perfect? Everything can be combed through for faults.) it helped bring me into the world Chris and Dan Jury created a lot more than the first issue. In fact, putting on my writer’s hat, I’d have really liked to see some amalgamation of the first two issues. With a little rearranging of the story as presented, the same story could be told in just as many pages while making things a little more clear for the readers.

It’s the little things that matter in stories which take them from good to great. What worked for me was the characters. While last issue they felt a little stiff, this time around they’re more real. The interactions they have with each other and with the time travelers seem genuine, something you’d expect to see in real life. They also shied away from throwing in a dated reference in order to remind the reader we were in the seventies. Minor little thing for sure but much appreciated on my end.

An issue I had with the story this issue had to do with the explanation of why the time travelers were there. While it’s implied a massive global war is occurring in 2017, the story only hints at two companies that have taken up arms and have spanned the depths of time for some corporate warfare in the literal sense. Which is it? Global war or two companies with itchy trigger fingers? I can accept both because with the latter example, history has shown numerous occasions where blood has been shed to protect the profits of some business, however the story should be a little more clear as to how widespread this fracas is in the future.

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There was also a bit where it was hinted that a mole from an opposing company could already be among the group in 1975. Not a bad plot device (unless it’s overdone like the television show “24”.) but this big story implication was tossed out like a basketball that had the air removed. It landed with a thud because one, there was no real follow through in this issue to look for said mole and two, the story so far hadn’t really gave us a character in 1975 that seemed out of place. I have a guess as to who it may be and if I am correct, I will have to shake my head because more could have been done to set up that character.

The art work was much better. Maybe it was due to the more personal nature of the issue but the art flowed quite nice from first page to last. Reading it on my iPad, I have to say I really love the horizontal layout of the story and how it is presented like an actual manual you could find at a research laboratory. The artists, Adhitya Zulkarnaen and Pam Siega, have done a wonderful job at creating a piece that works well with digital media. Some of the layouts really stand out because due to it being horizontal, they can add more to the page.

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This was a fine issue and one I’d recommend purchasing. You get more of an understanding of where things are headed now and it makes for an enjoyable reading experience. While I stand by my thoughts on the first issue, this more than makes up for any concerns I had. Support these good folks and all independent comic book creators! This issue is on sale tomorrow on Comixology.