Indie Comic Review: Vessels #2

By: Dominic Kelly

8th August 2017

Written by Dave Cook
Art by Rafael Desquitado Jr.
Colours by Dennis Lehmann
Letters by Micah Myers
Cover by Gary Kelly and Lesly Atlansky
Published by Card Shark Comics

It can be hard to follow a truly amazing first issue.

Now I’m not saying that it isn’t possible of course. But often, in my time writing for this site, I have seen many a comic fall to the dreaded sophomore slump, and never capture the heights that it promised with its first issue. It’s a sad truth, and one that I dread happening whenever I pick up the second issue of a comic that hooked me with its first. So, you can understand the apprehension when presented with the second issue of the Card Shark Comics Series Vessels. Now most folks who frequent this know that I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue of this series. It was a well-executed dark fantasy story that captured my attention with its compelling characters and amazing world building. Plus, the fact it drew from the Dark Souls series was no bad thing either. But could this second issue stand alongside its stellar first outing?

So, let’s talk about issue number two of Vessels shall we?

In the second issue of Vessels, we see that the world of Cairnthala is still on decline. Still reeling from the defeat of the Eye God in the previous issue however, our hero Wake has found herself celebrated by the people of the land. With the blessing of the Queen, and with her new friend G’Dala at her side, Wake sets out to deal the decisive blow against the fearsome deity. But as with all great adventures, the road ahead is paved with hazards. With the villainous group known as The Senses still on her tail, Wake must navigate a world thrown into chaos and beset by villains who wish to see her fail in her quest. It is a dark and twisted road that our heroes walk, and fraught with dangers they have yet to encounter.

Will Wake succeed in her mission to save the world? Or will the cruel nature of Cairnthala and its inhabitants be the end of her before that?

As I mentioned previously, it can be hard to follow an amazing first issue. This doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for the crew of Vessels however. In fact, I can say with no degree of hesitation that this second issue is a triumph, thanks in no small part to the stellar team behind it.

It is obvious from the get go that writer Dave Cook knows exactly what he wants to do with this story. Proceeding with an absolute confidence, Cook’s writing is fantastic from the start. The cast of characters that dot the world of Vessels carry with them a depth and clarity that is hard to come by. There is a sense of purpose to every character introduced and it compliments the story with aplomb. A story that itself once again draws enough from the best parts of the Dark Souls series, while bringing its own flavour to the table, creating something unique and engaging. Cook’s work creates a narrative that is sure to satisfy anyone looking for a darker edge to their fantasy stories, and bring in those new to the genre.

It’s some fine work that Cook has done with the story here, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

This is not to undersell the work of the books fantastic art team. Returning to the fray, artists Rafael Desquitado Jr and Dennis Lehmann, and the art of Vessels delivers in all regards. It complements the writing with wicked ease, carrying with it the dark and oppressive feeling of the world in every page. The world of Cairnthala feels all the more vibrant through their efforts and it is a delight to view from page to page. This is bolstered by the magnificent work of letterer Micah Meyes, giving the story a great flow, and an easier read overall. Along with the fantastic cover work of Gary Kelly and Lesly Atlansky, and you’ve got a book whose art shines once more.

If it isn’t apparent folks, I loved this book, and I think you do yourself a disservice by not checking it out. Boasting some great work, this second issue of Vessels continues the stellar work of the first issue, and serves as a great stepping stone to the world of Cairnthala at large. Cook’s writing brings a wonderful energy to it, and excels at building a world and a cast that is sure to capture your attention. Coupled with the amazing work of the art team, whose work elevates the book to greater heights, and you have a second issue that reinforces the message of the first book; that greatness is on the horizon with this series.

Issue two of Vessels is available now through Comichaus and Card Shark Comics online store. As always though, I’m sure if you ask nice enough, Geek Retreat will order you a copy.