It’s a brand new month, and with it comes another entry into Aspen Comics’ “10 for 10” extravaganza. May’s offering comes in the form of “Charismagic” Volume 2 #1, written by Vince Hernandez with art by Vincenzo Cucca and Mark Roslan, colors by Emilio Lopez and letters from Josh Reed. The book introduces over a half-dozen characters in a rather quick clip. Those characters do not enjoy a lot of character development, but rather play towards advancing the plot, which places the lead characters Hank and Sudana in the path of a mystical invasion.
Surprisingly, the brisk pacing of the comic provides enough for readers to just jump in and read without tending to the 6-point recap paragraph on the inside front cover. The problem is the issue’s rather by-the-numbers invasion story with devastating secrets held back. Hernandez doesn’t waste time with details of how these characters relate to one another, he simply writes their interactions and reactions to the pending doom. That makes for large leaps on the part of newer readers, but presumably falls right inline with what returning readers already know from Volume 1.
Among those leaps is the sudden appearance of a plot-convenient behemoth named Munchy. I’m not sure if it’s Munchy or Munchie, since it’s spelled both ways in the Hank’s word balloons, but he’s suddenly part of the pack looking for answers and comes in as a convenient foil for an attacking giant snake.
Vincenzo Cucca, Mark Roslan and Emilio Lopez collaborate on the art, which is extremely dark and murky. The dim visuals sometimes muddy the story, but for the most part Cucca’s character work and storytelling function well enough. There simply isn’t a lot of spectacle to be had in the art, though, due to the deep shadows and dark color palette. I’d like to see the original art for this story at some point to compare the two. There is some sketch work in the back matter of this issue showcasing Cucca’s style, but the art in the story proper isn’t as lively.
As this “10 for 10” experiment continues, I’m getting a bountiful sample of the variety Aspen offers readers, but none of the issues have really hooked me enough to merit further investigation into the second issues where the price nearly quadruples. “Charismagic” #1 is clearly more viable to readers familiar with the previous story, but does a decent enough job offering a nice character-defining opening chapter for new readers. It’s just not an overly compelling opening chapter at this point.