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June 15, 2013

IDW Reviews: Half Past Danger #2

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Written by: Jeff Lake
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imageHalf Past Danger #2
Writer: Stephen Mooney
Artist: Stephen Mooney
Publisher: IDW

Given the events of last issue, Half Past Danger #2 had a high level of awesomeness to maintain. Luckily creator Stephen Mooney builds off his strong debut and delivers another exciting, imaginative, and wildly entertaining issue, proving yet again that dinosaurs make everything better.

Whereas last issue was primarily an action piece, here Mooney wisely balances spectacle with clever plot progression, clearing up many of the niggling questions left from the previous installment. Sergeant Flynn, the lovable Irish brogue, awakens from his booze soaked slumber to find he’s been recruited, and he’s none too happy about the who and why. An intrepid hodgepodge of soldiers – a steely MI6 agent, an American Captain, and a Japanese defector – have decided to launch an expedition to Dino-Island to neutralize the impending Nazi threat. Before he can say “kiss my arse” Flynn and his new team are in lethal lizard territory, trying to stay one step ahead of their carnivorous foes while working to deduce the Nazi’s plans. The reasoning behind the island and the German’s presence there is quite intriguing, and I look forward to seeing how Flynn and Co. deal with this imminent threat.

Mooney again shows a real aptitude for storytelling here, as even the most absurd moments are laced with a certain degree of plausibility. Though the Indiana Jones comparisons are definitely merited, Half Past Danger is also a team book. Flynn is most definitely the “hero,” but he’s not the sole driving force of the series. Mooney gives the supporting cast a good sense of purpose and personality, though at times they skew a bit towards caricature. Captain Noble is essentially a Captain America carbon copy at this point, complete with “gee whiz” idealism and seemingly enhanced strength, and Ishikawa serves as the requisite silent (albeit awesome) ninja. Huntington-Moss manages to escape being shoe horned thus far, as her place of authority gives her character some weight. Luckily the script as a whole negates any real qualms, as it continues to blend thrills and humor in ample measure.

Considering how strong the writing is you figure Mooney has to falter somewhere, but once again his art is a highlight. His style is hard to pin down; at times it’s minimalist in its execution, at others fully detailed, yet the balance is always perfect for the scene at hand. His characterization is highly entertaining, as Flynn and his assorted companions share a myriad of expressions and physical quirks throughout their adventures. Also of note are his action sequences. Each skirmish is fluid and exciting, and the various beasties involved are genuinely menacing. Any comic that features a man sucker punching a shark has already earned the cover price in my book.

Half Past Danger continues to combine old-school action with even older-school danger, and I’d say it’s half past time you picked it up.

Jeff Lake

jefflake@comicattack.net

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