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Review – Canto II: The Hollow Men #1 (IDW Publishing)

Overall
8.7/10
8.7/10
  • Writing - 8.6/10
    8.6/10
  • Art - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • Overall - 8.7/10
    8.7/10
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Canto II: The Hollow Men #1

Writer: David M. Booher
Artist: Drew Zucker
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Maturity Rating: Everyone
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: August 26, 2020

Canto and his people are finally free from the Shrouded Man, but something is wrong. His people’s clocks are running out fast…too fast. Canto must find the reasoning behind this, as the Shrouded Man’s presence still looms. It is time for another adventure, but this time Canto will not be on his own.

 

Adventure Begins Again in Canto II: The Hollow Men #1

If you follow me at all, you know I am excited for this new Canto series, and I couldn’t wait to dig into Canto II: The Hollow Men #1. The story picks up a little while after Canto “defeated” the Shrouded Man and his people revolted against their enslavers and struck out on their own. Canto’s people, inspired by his heroics and “heart”, have found new life and a home to call their own. They are becoming strong and sturdy in their newfound freedom. They have names, lives, and purpose—something that was all but stripped away from them.

Canto II: The Hollow Men #1 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Drew Zucker
Canto II: The Hollow Men #1 (IDW Publishing) cover A by Drew Zucker

Things seem to be going well, but Canto can’t seem to shake the fear that the Shrouded Man will return. He also doesn’t like being called a hero, as he did fail to save his love. Can Canto live up to the expectations of his people and continue to inspire? Will the Shrouded Man come back? We will find out in Canto II: The Hollow Men. But, this time, Canto will not have to fight alone!

Writing

David M. Booher starts off Canto II: The Hollow Men #1 as a strong sequel to the first Canto series. Well, I guess maybe we will call it a second season. We got a little glimpse of what the world was like after the events of the first series in the one-shot Canto and the Clockwork Fairies. But this issue gives us the real rundown of what has happened since then. The “hollow/tin” people have a new home and we get to explore that in this issue.

Booher again does some fantastic character work. I like that he gets into Canto’s head with his fears and anxiety. Not only about the Shrouded Man, but the fact that he feels somewhat like a fraud. People embellish his adventure and his battle with the Shrouded Man. It inspires his people, but he struggles with that and his failure to save his love. Booher digs into deep subject matter but also keeps it very all-ages at the same time, which is a great skill of his.

We also have a much larger cast this time in Canto II: The Hollow Men #1. We get introduced to new characters that get some more page time. I will be interested to see how Booher juggles this in the new series, as we mainly focused on Canto in the first series. They all get a good introduction, but I am a little worried about balancing these new characters and new story as well. 

Art

I am always happy to have some Drew Zucker artwork in my life, as well. He delivers some delightful pages throughout Canto II: The Hollow Men #1. He continues to show great character design, layout, and movement in his art. I say this every time, but the “hollow/tin men” design for Canto and his people are fantastic. We get introduced to some new “hollow/tin people” in this issue and they all have great looks. The same basic design, but with little tweaks with size, weapon, and color. You know, TMNT style (I love that Ben Bishop homage cover by the way). There is also a great chase/race scene in the issue, and Zucker captures that well. It is not always easy to do in comic book form, but Zucker gets you into the action.

Great coloring work by Vittorio Astone, as well. Astone always does a solid job and it stands out once again. There is a wonderful opening dream sequence in Canto II: The Hollow Men #1. Astone paints it in this chalky purple hue. Just the way that purple works with what is happening in the scene is fantastic. I really like the subtle changes in Zucker’s art in this dream sequence. A little looser and rougher, it sets a stunning tone for the series going forward.

I don’t know if I have really talked about the lettering in this series by Deron Bennett much or not in all of my reviews. But, great work by him. Lettering is often overlooked unless it is bad, but you want the lettering to enhance the story, not take away or be distracting, and Bennett does a great job of enhancing the story being told.

Conclusion

Canto II: The Hollow Men #1 sets Canto on a new adventure. The creative team does a great job of starting a brand new adventure for Canto and his people while building upon what happened in the first series. If you already know and love Canto then you do not need convincing by me to go buy this. If you have never read Canto, go buy the first trade and then pick this issue up. It continues to be the best all-ages comic out there. Scratch that—just one of the best comic books out there, period, that just happens to be all-ages. The series continues to stay true to its original tagline “Part Fantasy. Part Adventure. All Heart.” Don’t miss out!


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