When I interviewed Michel Fiffe a few months back, Zegas #2 was in production, waiting on money from a Kickstarter-like funding project. Today, it's a different story. The comic exists as a physical object--bound by staples and demanding two hands to be held in. It's safe to say this second issue is fiercer than its predecessor in terms of shear size and page composition, yet like #1 (which we also reviewed), this comic supplies a from the heart focus, bled through the presence of Fiffe's two inseparable characters, Boston and Emily Zegas. Simply said, I enjoyed my time with this comic book. The reading experience can't help but engross you. Between the larger size, the color and the well-synchronized panels, your eyes narrow in on Zegas #2, no matter what. Opening it is like placing your face behind a wall. It's tough for your line of sight to climb over the barriers. This could come off as a comment on the packaging, and I guess it is, but really I found the size to have an actual effect on the work, taking the, dare I say it, "slice-of-life" quality and transcending it to something a little different, maybe through tone. Of course, there are other factors Fiffe draws into his comic which accomplish the same thing, but book size really stuck out to me. Also, I found the choice an interesting way to open up the comic book page a little bit more. There's a lot of space in this artwork, and I feel the size brings out more of the original drawing rather than conveying a sense of "mass" production. I'm also wondering how big the original pages may be. You know, like what size does Fiffe actually draw at?
But tone, I think, makes an interesting point of focus when discussing this comic because while it's clearly, more or less, down-to-Earth, the use of color and page give Zegas #2 a sense of the fantastic and dynamic. Fiffe collides aesthetics interesting and makes the event work rather than read jarringly or feel amateur. I also appreciate the accentuated elements because they bring Zegas above simple expectations of "oh, it's about everyday people. Let's appreciate it for it's 'realness'." No. Fiffe shows he's capable of more influences than auto-bio comics, and you can tell he's proud of that. Even though it's a story based around people's desires, Fiffe wants this comic book to excite you, and it does - especially when you hit this spread:
Compared to last issue, this one feels a little more well-rounded. While I know a general theme wasn't Fiffe's concern, I think the first issue could have benefited from that, to make it more of a piece. This time, he's picked up on that as the issue contains two separate stories which meet on one issue: wanting. Having that anchor point brings the whole comic home as it provides the reader with a satisfying narrative which still leaves room to think. Yet, with the common ground, Fiffe tells two distinctly different stories. In "Finding the Perfect Beat," you get the continuation of the Zegas characters done in the hyper-style I've mentioned, but with "Habana '76" Fiffe goes a little more classic, stripping color away for a black and white return in time. Here, you see more of Fiffe's line art and experience the lush inks he's laying down. The tone is different, the character new, yet the story works in its placement, contrasting against the loudness of "Finding the Perfect Beat" and showing, I think, what a difference in color can make. Yet, there is a moment in "Habana '76" in which Fiffe tries for the larger than life - a page in which a naked local, by way of a gypsy woman, has a psychedelic experience. I don't know. It just felt random and ill-fitting.
Yep. This is worth reading, and while I mentioned more of the visual aspects, you can read and enjoy this comic simply off the characters and their stories. Fiffe tells them well, and I really do enjoy the way he develops his creations in this new installment. He's talented at that. Each character distinct by what comes out their mouth.
Yep. Yep. I like Zegas #2.
TL;DR: Zegas #2 arrives fiercer than its predecessor in terms of shear size and page composition, yet like #1, this comic supplies a from the heart focus, bled through the presence of Fiffe's two inseparable characters, Boston and Emily Zegas.
Zegas #2 was written and drawn by Michel Fiffe as well as self-published by him. You can purchase the comic at michelfiffe.com.