As a reviewer, I make it a point to not give out any spoilers if I don’t have to. However, after reading issue Department of Monsterology Issue #2 (and #3 once I finish this review), a few spoilers tidbits will have to start coming out. If you don’t want to risk any spoilers, I’ll give you the short version here; “I’m enjoying this comic and I think it’s worth the purchase, go out and get it”. Once you’ve read #1 and #2 (and you will need to read #1 to understand what’s going on in #2), your welcome to come back for the rest of this review. For you more intrepid readers… lets dive in shall we?
Department of Monsterology Issue #2 starts off by introducing us to a field team from the “Lamont Institute” (led by siblings Sebastian & Jocasta Lamont), which looks to be rivals, and even antagonists to the Department. We find them somewhere deep within a cave in the Slovenian Alps (this comic displays an extreme fondness for exotic places and I for one encourage it) in the middle of relic hunting while dealing with the native creatures. Here we get an idea of what they are about, what they’re after, what kind of threat they present, and offers a sample of the unique abilities the Lamont’s possess.
From there, it goes right back into the parallel storylines; Team Carnacki is following the trail of where the two Chinese vampires came from, while team Challenger is dealing with the local wildlife “somewhere in the Pacific”. In between these two group activities is the addition of a third storyline with Professor Booker that takes place at home base; Dunsany College.
This third storyline was hinted at in an exclusive USA Today prologue and interview article, and it had a nice, tidy blurb about why the department investigates the things and sites that they do (“this department isn’t the only body interested in the things we study, but we are one of the few whose interest is wholly benign…”). I look forward to learning more about what goes on at the college; the prologue mentioned a third team (Team Carter), which has been on an “extended sabbatical”. This is code for “they’ve been missing for some time”, and I for one what to know what’s happened to them.
By the end of this issue the action and danger is ramping up. Team Carnacki runs into interference with the “Lamont Institute” while searching for the long lost tomb of an evil Chinese emperor (it seems that magician Dominic Belasco and Jocasta Lamont have history together). Meanwhile, team Challenger has its hands full with a “quite rare species” of dinosaur while the exploration that Professor Wilmington’s undertaking is about to reach a critical stage (fans of H.P. Lovecraft will understand just how critical).
On a side note, I love the name droppings that come up periodically in the series; Lamont, Carnacki, Challenger, Miskatonic, Carter… these names are intentional and means something to the fans of this kind of material. And while I’m still not happy that issue #2 keeps the 32 page count, the fun and pulp-fiction action style of the Department manages to cram a lot of material into this issue. The writing, the characters, the artwork, and the colors are all gelling together very well. None of it feels out of place here.