Knock Em Dead #2
Aftershock Comics 2020
Written by Eliot Rahal
Illustrated by Mattia Monaco
Coloured by Matt Milla
Lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studio
Pryor Brice died…but only for a couple of seconds.
The thing is, he didn’t come back alone. The spirit of Danny Baron, Pryor’s (more successful) comedian friend, was brought back with him. Trapped inside Pryor’s body, the ghost of Danny offers Pryor a supernatural deal: He’ll write Pryor’s material so Danny can still be successful, even after death. Their bargain comes with supernatural strings attached and, soon, Pryor will discover that comedy is no laughing matter.
There are a lot of things going on here that one isn’t going to associate with stand up comedy and it’s this that sets this story apart from whatever preconceived notions you might have. I make no bones that I am a fan of Eliot’s and watching him continue to grow and evolve as a writer is really a joy for me. I say this because when I can be surprised by what I am reading it means that the writer is doing something that is pretty extraordinary and that makes me excited to see what is going to happen next.
The way that this is being told is fantastic! The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented beautifully. With how the book is being structured and how the layers within the story are emerging and growing work with how the characters are being introduced along with the roles they play keeps you glued to the page. The character development that we see is superb and through the dialogue and how the characters act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter continue to flesh them out as people. The pacing is great and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story as well as the twists and turns along the way and it makes this so much different than you expect. The way that everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow is incredibly well done.
I am really rather enjoying the interior artwork we are seeing here. I am a huge fan of the dual styles or work that we see, one for the normal day to day stuff and the other for how Pryor and Danny see things. For me it’s reminiscent of how Sienkiewicz did his run on New Mutants and it is one of those things that just excites the senses. Also that backgrounds are just as divided as the styles is interesting and understandable, though I’d like to see them utilised equally in both styles. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a solid eye for storytelling. The colour work that we see is really rather impressive. I love how we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work. The way the colours are utilised to create the mood, tone, feel and ambiance is exceptional stuff.
Back in the day stealing someone’s jokes was something that led to some feuds and bad blood, it also made the nightly news. So this isn’t that and honestly I thought it would be along those lines and never have I ever been happier to be proven so completely and utterly wrong in my thinking. If you want some extremely dark humour that makes the reader think about what is happening rather than say “frat humour” which is something that is simply mindlessly laughed at then this is for you. Personally I am enamoured with this as is and I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen next!