Review - Echoes #2

Echoes #2 has hit stores and in it Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal continue telling the tale of Brian Cohn, a man forced to come to terms with his recently deceased father's grisly secret. That secret? The small cache of dolls found in his basement created from the flesh of his victims. For as disgusting as that sounds it's not what's shown that gets you most with Echoes; it's what's not shown that is truly frightening.

The second issue features Brian still reeling from his discovery. The fact that he's already plagued with sometimes debilitating mental illness only makes it that much more difficult to cope with his father's decisions. That's the first powerful thing about this comic that I love. Brian's father confesses to his sins on his deathbed, leaving no chance for Brian to talk it out with his father to learn more about his decisions.

To someone with schizophrenia being left with that gaping hole of unknown is terrifying, as evidenced by Brian's hearing his dead father in his thoughts. In fact, the entire issue follows Brian struggling to return to a normal routine. Typically, when faced with the death of a loved one there is a grieving period and returning to "normal" is difficult enough as it is. When you factor in Brian's doubts about himself as a person as a result of his father's confession you have a LOT more room for him to break down.

I also really like how Brian is characterized. There are a couple of pages of him questioning himself, overlayed on smaller panels of some of the dolls he found. There's another panel where you can see he's slightly overweight and I feel that makes him very relatable. I'm not saying we're all overweight schizophrenics, but depicting him that way allows the reader to connect more readily making it that much more unsettling. He's not a super jacked up twenty something, feigning mental illness. He's an average, slightly overweight late thirty/early forty something adjusting to a new reality.

This is a book meant to assault your thoughts and idea of reality and it does a marvelous job in doing so. Probably the greatest part of the issue though has to do with the ending. I won't spoil it because it's a great twist but we're beginning to see the full extent of Brian's doubts. Fialkov has done a superb job in telling the story of a man teetering on the brink of insanity. I'm really digging what Fialkov and Ekedal are doing with Echoes. Fialkov's dialogue is masterfully crafted and paired perfectly with Ekedal's chilling grayscaled illustrations. It's a slow, steady descent into madness and we're all along for the ride.

The book is in stores now and is published by Minotaur Press (a Top Cow imprint).