In our review of the first Lawless book, we tipped the balance of our praise in favour of writer Dan Abnett over artist Phil Winslade, because the flow of the book just felt that way inclined. In this second volume, however, we’re switching our opinion. Like the second volume of Abnett’s other ongoing series for Rebellion, Brink, this story stalls in this second volume. Clearly Abnett has some tidying-up to do after the first book and there’s an inevitable thunderstorm of action building up on the horizon, but here it leaves Abnett fleshing out some incidental characters that need development before they can perhaps play their parts further down the line, while introducing an antagonist worthy of taking on the incomparable Metta Lawless.
It’s perhaps worth, at this point, taking a time out to consider the admirable diversity in this comic: the lead and her antagonist are female; the main sidekick, whose development we witness the most in this volume, is female; and the other main character growth is given to a talking gorilla – animal rights well covered there. Men have a few roles, mostly as either cannon-fodder or sexist clowns that the primary cast can put in their place. This doesn’t need much commentary – Lawless is simply a good sci-fi story with strong female identities and everyone involved in publishing it should be applauded for that.
Back to Winslade’s art, then, which is as refreshingly retro as it was in Book 1. Again, some detail may be lost in the background, but the characters and foreground detail are bursting out of the book and it’s a phenomenal polar opposite to I.N.J Culbard’s colourful work on Brink.
There’s a second book syndrome to this volume because it’s screaming out for a conclusion. Hopefully, this is just around the corner. However, it means this particular volume isn’t going to satisfy your Lawless cravings and just leave you on more tenterhooks, waiting for the ultimate conclusion. It does, at least, bring that grande finalé one step closer and that’s something I’m particularly looking forward to.