Grovel regulars might recall me reviewing the first book of online graphic novel Last of the Irin last year. If you don’t recall it, go back and take a look – there’s no point reading any of this until you’ve done Volume 1, and there’s nothing here that changes my opinion of that book’s status as a brilliant series opener. If you’re still here, I can only assume that you’ve read the first book, enjoyed it, and are wondering whether to plunge into Volume 2.
As with the first book, I found myself needing two readings to get the most from this, because the plot is dense and sophisticated. It’s worth it, though. We’re introduced to more characters in the family of intergalactic gods who’ve been secretly using their advanced technology to influence mankind for thousands of years. We’re also given a further insight into their motivations.
It’s here where the true epic joy of this story lies. From the Aztecs to the Illuminati, the Sirusians have been dropping in on humanity, using their god-like powers to push and pull humanity’s hopes and fears to their own ends. Meanwhile, across the centuries, a family drama has also played out, that comes to a satisfying crescendo in this volume.
I often find that second books of trilogies can fall flat. They’re necessarily middle acts, segueing between the introduction and the grand finale. This second Irin book completely bucks that trend. There’s no cliffhanger build-up to the final act and, in fact, it feels like it could finish here. Where is Robert McMillan going to take it next? Your guess is as good as mine.
Art duties have been taken on by a different artist, Laura R. Peinado. Apparently this was always the plan and the third and final volume will see a third artist illustrating. The style is subtly different to the first volume, with a more traditionally illustrated feel. I enjoyed Wouter Gort’s art, but Peinado’s follows it with a different style that still works well. She makes her own mark on the series but, to her credit, maintains rock-solid links to the characters from the previous book without confusing anything. It probably helps that the character designs are so clearly defined, but it doesn’t take anything away from Peinado’s craft.
Either way, this is a solid second outing and I’ll definitely be along for the third.