Decorum #2 Review - Powers of X, A Space Odyssey (Spoilers)
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I often feel kinda dumb after reading a Jonathan Hickman comic. It has nothing to do with the writing or art direction of his work. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around some of his ideas and concepts.
I read Decorum #1 and while I wasn't the biggest fan of the material, I believe series like Decorum and Excellence go a long way in pushing the medium forward from a design and storytelling perspective. Some books work better than others but what's not up for debates is that in a world where comics are $3.99 and up Decorum is a great value proposition comparatively. The page count is significantly more than a standard comics and although the additional content is made up of prose and infographics, they go a long way in making for a more fulfilling and meaningful experience than a 22-page pamphlet with ads.
There is a lot of content to digest here and most other comics can't compete. The flip side of the coin is that half of the time I'm not what the hell I'm looking at? This comic reminds me more of the Hickmans Powers of X series than anything. The vibe hit me so hard that I started thinking that this may be a meta sequel to that series.
The comic opens up in the far future with entities discussing the birth or rebirth of their God which seems to be imminent. Another faction also detects the stirring of the egg and moves into action. We're told that multiple attempts have been made to retrieve the egg but they have all failed. Nevertheless, the entity known as Chi Ro Chi Ro Chi has been tasked with obtaining it.
The Book then shifts and we're introduced to Mr. Morley and gain insight into his relationship with Lady Morley, the Bounty Hunter introduced in the last issue. He discusses a dream he had in which he influenced his past self to make a deal. It's a heavy concept that lost me about halfway through but was interesting to read. I actually read it out loud to help with my comprehension of the material.
The story then moves to Lady Morley and Neha from the last issue. They have a brief exchange and the scene ends with Neha deciding to go with Morley as her protege.
Finally, the comic ends as it begins with the caretakers of the egg working desperately to stop it from hatching prematurely. We learn that this process has been repeated 6000 times over the course of a hundred thousand years.
The book has a lot going on but is slightly easier to follow than the first issue. There aren't any particular standout moments, but this may be one of the most beautiful sci-fi comics I've ever had the pleasure of looking at. The art reminds me of the wildest stuff I've ever seen from Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko but is its own thing and is a triumph in graphic design.
I've never seen a comic look this good. The art and design are very organized and stark. I believe this is intentional and feeds back to the decorum of the series and the politeness of the main characters. Sasha E.Head is listed as a designer in the credits and I believe the organization of the material is probably her contribution and should be propped out in addition to the stunning linework.
I can recommend Decorum on the art alone if that's your fancy. The story doesn't feel decompressed but I don't feel any urgency to read or review the series. I did drop the title from my pull list but I may collect the series in trade-paperback as its collected which is rare for me.
Decorum #2 is a gorgeous comic that pushes the medium but it's not necessarily the best comic to follow monthly. It's a hard concept to review but at the end of the day, you can do a lot worse with your $3.99.