This is a repost of my review over on Hell Descent! A big thanks goes out to Tom Waltz for sending me the preview
Silent Hill Past Life #2 is the second installment of Tom Waltz’s four part Silent Hill comic picks up shortly after the end of issue #1.
Jebediah “Hell Rider” Foster is still reeling from an encounter with the old and crazy Native American who trespassed into the Foster’s home just the night before. Her gift of a bloody knife and casual mention of Jebediah’s Hell Rider past has the outlaw questioning whether or not he can really be a good man for his wife, Esther, and unborn child. I’m sure the powers of the town will help him with those fears! Hit the jump for the full review of Silent Hill: Past Life #2
In fact we can already see the effects the eerie town already has on the outlaw’s psyche. On his first night Jebediah is already troubled by nightmares within nightmares and his fears of failing to be a good man. All the while a wicked creature lurks nearby and seems to be a catalyst for Jebediah’s inner torment.
To reassure himself that he’s really a changed man, Jebediah decides to talk with the sheriff about the previous night’s trespasser instead of dealing with the matter in a less…law abiding way. During this trip back into town we meet some cryptic new characters who know more than they should about Jebediah’s past as an outlaw. Meanwhile, a heavily pregnant Ester has a strange otherworldly encounter of her own waiting for Jebediah’s return home.
I’m happy to say that Past Life #2 is a stellar continuation of the first issue, the story is riveting and I’m eager to see the what happens in the next installment. I love how Tom interweaves Silent Hill town history only mentioned briefly in games so effortlessly into his own tale. These tidbits aren’t just fan service either! Which is something previous Silent Hill comics were guilty of exploiting with their random character name drops and familiar location or game creatures that in the end served no real purpose to the story. In Past Life these game related historical places are mentioned but are properly fleshed out and given a legitimate connection to the tale and the characters.
For instance, Howard, the Postmaster from issue #1, lets Jebediah know that the Sheriff he’s seeking is down by Toluca Lake overseeing the conversion of the prisoner of war camp into a normal criminal prison. Fans who’ve played through Silent Hill 2 may already know that little tidbit of the town history and the location could have just been safely mentioned in passing and left at that. Instead, Tom has Howard explain to a clueless Jebediah the hows and whys behind the prison project so it’s brief mention serves a logical purpose within the Past Life’s story. That’s the real key here, readers unfamiliar with Silent Hill lore given a nice history lesson doesn’t that doesn’t feel shoehorned while a well known game location isn’t just used for the sake of fan service.
Like in Past Life #1 Menton3’s artwork does not disappoint. I’m happy to say the comic is still not only very easy to follow but quite easy on the eyes as well. In Past Life #1 a shift in art style between Menton3 and a second artist, Riley Rossmo, was used to indicate a flash back or another character’s point of view. In this issue, Menton3 is the sole artist but he continues this visual storytelling with a dramatic change of color pallette between several pages of the comic.
While we are within Jebediah’s narrative the comic artwork is coarser, dark with a heavy use of muddy browns and yellows that fits well with gruff outlaw’s personality and the character’s dark past. When the comic shifts to Esther’s narrative the comic art style is toned down quite a bit through the combination of soft watercolor backgrounds and the use of a lighter and more feminine color palette. Overall Esther’s pages are brighter with Menton3’s use of white and pastel hues of blues, yellows and greens which fits the implied innocence of Esther’s character. The drastic color change between pages makes the transitions between Jebediah and Esther’s point of views not only easy to follow but also makes for some beautiful computer wall paper material!
So Silent Hill fans, I got to say Past Life continues to wow in both the art and story department. If you’ve been hesitant to pick this series believe me, the awesomeness of the first issue isn’t just a fluke! The series is proving to be a phenomenal read and I have to admit has me quite psyched to see what Tom Waltz writes for Vatra’s Silent Hill 8! Look for Silent Hill Past Life #2 December 1, 2010!