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Dishonored #2 – Comic Review


Dishonored_2_Cover_CTitan Comics have delivered the second instalment in their Dishonored story and annoyingly it follows a familiar trait of being muddled, confusing and slightly pointless.

I’m annoyed. Annoyed and frustrated. If you recall my previous review of issue #1 in this series, I spoke of how intrigued I was by the story that the writers were trying to convey with Corvo, but worried that it would fall into a very ‘tried and tested’ format, becoming nothing more of a cat and mouse chase between Corvo and the villain of the series. Well fortunately, Dishonored #2 doesn’t fall into the trap that I was concerned about before, but it does fall into a completely unforeseen one in which this issue achieves absolutely nothing in terms of advancing the story in any way.

Issue #1 left Corvo reeling after an altercation with someone who reminded him of his long lost sister. Issue #2 starts by giving us the briefest of glimpses of what Corvo and Beatrici’s (his sister) relationship was like when they were kids. Beatrici has her eyes set on leaving home and travelling to Dunwall to escape the monotomy of her life in Karnaca, and Corvo is determined to go with her. Beatrici’s motivations are no more than most generic characters who grow up in small villages: wanting to go the big city and experience that life, but it is here we see that Corvo’s intentions on his life were always to protect, as he says he would willingly become a soldier so that he could protect his sister in Dunwall. The irony is not lost on me; that is exactly what he did for the Empress. Though just as young Corvo gives his little speech about protecting his sister no matter what, she disappears from right under his nose and thus concludes the briefest of looks into Corvo’s past.Dishonored02-Preview-Page-1

I assume we’re likely to get more and more flashbacks as the series goes on, and truthfully I am not sure how I feel about that. This story revolves around Corvo trying to come to terms with what happened to his sister, I get that, but the exposition handed out by the flashbacks should serve as something which is directly connected to the story and at present the first flashback plain doesn’t.

The story catches back up with Corvo as he continues his search for the boy that reminded him of his sister. He visits a wealthy merchant who is known to dabble in the markets of human trafficking in an effort to turn up some leads. The thing I liked about this little event, was that it highlights just how useful Corvo’s mask and powers really are. He visits the merchant as the Lord Protector and basically gets insulted out of the place, however when he returns in his assassin’s gear, he immediately learns what he needs to know. It’s just humorous to see the contrast between the Lord Protector and the Assassin.

Annoyingly the rest of the issue serves to do two things. For the majority, it shows the not so dividing line between Cottings – the character introduced in issue 1 as Corvo’s potential replacement – and Corvo. In fact, it goes out of its way to show just how alike the two really are. I understand that Cottings has been earmarked by Corvo to be trained as his replacement, but I really don’t think this issue required such a black and white comparison between the two, just to show that Cottings is capable of getting the job done. While Corvo is carrying out his investigation, Martha is doing her own investigating, though into what we’re not quite certain. And yes, while the comparison between the pairs differing methods is slightly amusing (Cottings very much holds to the Watch’s code), I believe it is wholly unnecessary in terms of the telling of the story. The fact that Corvo trusts her enough to carry out her own investigations, means in my eyes, that he sees her as worthy enough.

Dishonored02-Preview-Page-4Both characters end up falling into traps of their own and Cottings ends up having to face an entity she doesn’t even believe in. Her struggle with the ‘weird-painting-ghost-thing’ (not the official name) does give the reader a slight insight into the character’s no nonsense attitude, especially when it comes to the supernatural, however in a franchise which is steeped in supernatural abilities and phenomenon it does beg the question just how long Cottings can remain a non-believer. Corvo’s trap on the other hand serves to introduce an actual fascinating character. Yippee! Corvo’s investigation leads him to the Rust district where a trap has been laid to introduce him to the character “Broken Tom”. At least I’m assuming it is Broken Tom, as it’s never actually truly explained who the assailant is. But the most interesting thing about this character is that he lays the smackdown on Corvo, in every single sense. It’s actually quite refreshing to see. It’s plain to see that since the close of the first game, Corvo believes himself to be the meanest cat on the block and that his connection to the Outsider means that he is literally untouchable. Yet here is a character who is bigger, more powerful and easily able to take Corvo down as he was beating guards of the Watch. This also means that hopefully throughout the course of this story we will see Corvo train and improve to a level where he is able to at least go toe-to-toe with this new character, and actually gain some progression within his character.

The thing that mostly ticked me off about this issue was that it really served no purpose to the overall story, nothing progressed, nothing was Dishonored02-Preview-Page-23achieved and nothing was resolved. All we got was another villain for Corvo to be distracted by, all the while the main antagonist of the series is easily going about her business. The biggest insult to injury was in the final panel of the issue, the boy which Corvo has been searching for ‘magically’ appears out of nowhere to pull Corvo’s beaten body from the river. Are you serious? Corvo is literally floating down river, lamenting his defeat and pretty much giving up on his search for the truth of what happened to his sister and all of a sudden the kid appears from nowhere! It’s almost as if this panel was supposed to justify everything that happened earlier in the issue, and link it to the overall story in a broader sense. In reality all it did was tick me off. I mean if the Lord Protector spends his days and nights searching for this kid and comes up empty handed, how does said child turn up out of blue just as Corvo has his ass handed to him? Unless of course…it’s all part of some illustrious plan? Hopefully…

Once again the artwork is solid throughout this issue, with Olimpieri stamping his unmistakable style on every panel, but the story just didn’t stack up for me. Also, at some point in this series it’d be nice if we actually got to see the Empress and what she makes of Corvo’s antics in Dunwall. She is going to play a massive part in the upcoming game’s sequel, so it’d be good to see if she plays any major part to this story as well. I’m hoping that issue #3, when it is released, returns to the level of intrigue and mastery of storytelling which was previewed in issue #1, and that Dishonored can get back on track with the story progressing at a good rate. While Dishonored #2 isn’t a ‘bad’ comic by any means, it’s a slow-paced slog compared to the first issue.

Rennie and Olimpieri seem to be a match made in heaven as far as the Dishonored series goes, however this issue provides a most unwanted stopgap when it comes to the story which hasn’t yet been given enough time to properly hook you in.

Danny Taylor (Timelord18)
Danny Taylor (Timelord18)
I've been gaming since before I could stick my fingers together in Art class. When I'm not hunting for gamerscore on my Xbox, I'm likely buried in comics or books! Everyone's got a hobby, mine just consume my entire life...
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