Royal Nonesuch reviews Codebreakers #2, published by Boom! Studios.
Credits & Solicit Info:
CODEBREAKERS #2 (A)
CODEBREAKERS #2 (B)
Written by Carey Malloy
Drawn by Scott Godlewski
24pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Julian Totino Tedesco
COVER B: Brett Weldele
Diamond Code: MAR100786
With time running out, Garner, Lindsay and Malcolm race against the clock to discover the truth behind Stanley’s disappearance. Meanwhile Stanley is faced with a code more difficult than he’s ever faced before. What secrets does it hold? And how is it connected to Garner’s past? And more importantly, what will they do with Stanley once it’s cracked? It’s all in a day’s work for the eltie Cryptanalysis Unit of the FBI. Covers by Julian Totino Tedesco and Brett Weldele.
When is a comic book not like a comic book? When it feels like a police procedural broadcast on the CBS television network. Thus, CODEBREAKERS, a hard-driving mixture of Numb3rs and CSI. CODEBREAKERS combines gimmicky specialized investigation techniques with cop show action and common character types.
The second issue largely moves forward from the world-building and character introductions that took up much last month's debut, and focuses more on an action-packed espionage plot. The team is searching for one of their own, kidnapped last issue and forced to break a code for his captors. There isn't nearly as much cryptography as there was in issue #1, but there is a lot more pure plot that keeps the issue constantly moving. The action is pretty relentless, and even a bit compelling. There isn't much new here to fans of action thrillers, but it hits the right notes and turns in a pretty solid story. It's also a dense read that packs a lot of changes of scene, so the book is never boring.
The art works well in conveying the story. The most clever bits occur when the agents are reading human body language (itself a type of code) to figure out what people are saying between the lines. Frankly, it would have been really nice to see more of this type of flourish, as promised by the first isse. As it is, the story isn't particularly distinctive without this kind of device being used to make it stand out a bit. If anything, it relied a little too heavily on the punching, running, and gun-pointing. The fact is, there are codes and patterns everywhere, just waiting to be read and deciphered. The story would be enhanced by seeing that theme played up a bit more.
The figure work by the art team looks good, though a little stiff, and the less than subtle color work is becoming something of a Boom! Studios hallmark. Like so much of Boom!'s artistic output, it gets the job done. It's serviceable and just engaging enough. With some seasoning and further experience, Scott Godlewski could certainly make the jump from a solid penciler to a greatly in demand brand name.
CODEBREAKERS #2 is a solid if not particularly unique entry into the action/procedural milieu. It fits well into its mold, but never truly breaks free from it. A greater focus on the cryptography would be a very welcome enhancement.
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