The Stuff of Legend #2 – Review

Sometimes the expectations for a #2 can be even more excruciating than that of a #1. I imagine for the creators it’s horribly daunting, especially when your first issue has received as much praise as The Stuff of Legend #1 has. Fortunately the folks over at Th3rd World Studios can breathe easy for a while, their second issue is collectively loved by the entire internet.*

It’s funny that in my last post about this book I said, “Do not pass go, do not collect $200,” because we’ve got our own screwed-up, twisted version of a board game this time around. Our rag-tag group of brave little toys still find themselves in the Dark searching for their lost master, the Boy. It’s led them to the town of Hopskotch.

Hopskotch sounds like fun, right? In a place called the Dark? Surely you jest. Very quickly we realize playing this game will get you nothing but trouble but our toys are coerced into joining. Cheating is a big no-no and the Mayor of Hopskotch is there to enforce the many (and ever changing) rules. This town is almost like living in Wonderland, just as backwards but not quite as ridiculous. In Hopskotch there is some semblance of being able to come out a winner even if the game is fixed.
The two most powerful members of the rescue party, Jester and Max, are swiftly dispatched by the Mayor in order to quell the rest. With them imprisoned, the Colonel dead and their weapons confiscated there’s not much they can do but play along. Percy, the Judas of the group, quickly becomes the Mayors pawn when he senses their conflicting agendas but even the Mayor must answer to the Boogeyman.
There’s a flashback to the toys’ time in the real world but for the most part this entire issue takes place in the Dark. We learn more about the politics of this dangerous land and what it takes to survive there. Although we easily see why Percy is so easily swayed to the dark side. After all, what do you do with a piggy bank once you’re done with it? Jester, continues to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with. With the group in jeopardy he never loses focus and has a mix of whimsy and intensity that make me think this is one character destined to be a fan favorite.
Charles Paul Wilson III’s art is engaging yet again. I miss the cuteness factor of the toys in their real world state but the cast is expanded this issue to include some very peculiar characters that are truly a sight to see. An arial view of Hopskotch is enough to make you break out Candyland for the afternoon while savoring some gumdrops. The Boogeyman may only get two pages but his presence is felt in the darkness he carries with him.
Comparisons to several types of stories can be made but The Stuff of Legend is really in a league of it’s own. Writers Mike Raicht and Brian Smith have constructed something fanciful and meaningful at the same time. The story feels like it goes on forever but in a good way. And this is only Book One, there’s still so much more to tell and I’m eager in anticipation to learn more about the Dark and what’s in store for these amazing characters. I only have one negative thing I can say about The Stuff of Legend and that is, I have to wait until Spring 2010 for Book Two to start.
The Stuff of Legend #2 is in stores now. If your local comic shop doesn’t carry it, tell them to stock up or you can order in online through the Th3rd World Studios store.
*The Nerdy Bird’s definition of “entire internet” is subjective.