The first issue of Big Bastard got a favourable review on The Cool Bean last time we checked it out, and the comic was certainly due a return with an interesting premise and strong aesthetics. The creative team of McColgan and O’Driscoll have since released the second issue of Big Bastard, and the quality thankfully remains high.
The eponymous Big Bastard drops into Donal Harkin’s residence at Howth with Holly Doherty in tow, and after attempting to shoot him in fear (and failing), Harkin comes along for the ride, to find out what is going on behind the strange events occurring across the country. Their next stop is to Con Ui Neill’s home, where he joins the group to no objection (and to Donal’s exasperated confusion), and takes his dog Cú with him. They finally catch up to their fifth team member, Tadgh De Brun – except he’s trapped in a house filled with eyeless monstrosities that have already killed the other occupants. Big Bastard and Con rescue him as they and Cú make fast work of the monsters.
The group finally settle around a campfire (Donal still wondering what the hell’s going on with the monsters and magic, but getting vague answers). As the others sleep, Donal chats with Holly about her spirit form, until they are accosted by water spirits in the form of dogs – one viciously attacks Donal, but the other gets possessed by Holly instead thanks to her power. Cú dashes off to save Donal from the other spirit (and reveals a power of his own, through some wonderfully rendered pages akin to a Book of Kells illustration), while Holly tries to get the attention of the others to come help. After they deal with the commotion, more powers are revealed and the depth to this sudden spread of evil is touched upon.
The pacing in this second issue feels more sped up: Holly’s recruitment isn’t much further elaborated on and that’s okay (I almost forgot she met Big Bastard at the end of issue 1), but so far we need to find out why Con joined up without hesitation. However, Donal’s endless tirade for answers plus Tadgh’s lack of confidence provide more interesting dimensions and subtext to their characters, with the only constant being Big Bastard himself as a single-minded metaphorical rock of thin exposition (much to his young vessel’s further disappointment). The art is great and loose and vibrant as before – as this review is based on a PDF copy and wondering if there’s a slight change for the print version, the colouring this time might benefit from a more unified colour scheme (though the scenes with Cú fighting the water dog are excellent).
Again, Big Bastard is a worthy comic that is more than likely headed towards a collected edition, to flesh out the mysteries and the plot pacing it has already set in stone.