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The Info Bit

Title: Penguins Vs Possums #2

Genre/s: Action/Drama/Comedy

Writer: Sebastian Kadlecik, John Bring, & Lindsay Calhoon

Penciler: Sebastian Kadlecik

Toner: John Bring

Letterer: Sebastian Kadlecik

Publisher: JBSK Comics

Number of Issues: 2

Page Count: 32

Price: $3

 

The Review Bit

We first talked about Penguins Vs Possums upon seeing the epic sounding battle take place in its premiere comic issue at this year’s Wondercon. Now, as of this year’s Long Beach Comic Con, the Penguins and Possums are still at it as issue #2 of Penguins Vs Possums is now available. Where last we left the two species, the penguins had lost their emperor in an attack on the possum caves south by southwest of the San Diego Zoo, where the penguins reside. The prophetic possum with a scarred eye had grown into his new role after killing the penguin leader, but also faced loss as his wife and unborn child were killed by a penguin rocket launcher.

Issue 2 of Penguins Vs Possums takes place shortly after the events of issue #1, as “the chosen one” (the new title for prophet of possums) and Xiao (the penguin emperor’s son) bury their loved ones. While the chosen one attempts to rebuild the possum caves, his brother-in-law and best friend, Zolin, is offered the position of leading the possums to war against the penguins by their council of elders. The council believes the chosen one is weak by not immediately responding to the attacks from last issue and want Zolin to avenge his sister and people through combat. Meanwhile, Xiao returns from burying his father back in Antarctica only to find a usurper of greater strength on his throne. The penguins believe Xiao fled out of fear, abandoning the throne, and have given it to a new and stronger penguin. As Xiao is cast into exile, he comes across other penguins cast aside at the San Diego Zoo in an older enclosure. There he builds a small following and returns to challenge the new leader of penguins to combat. A bloody and action packed battle ensues between the rather humorously equipped Sphenisciformes. Elsewhere in San Diego the possums collect supplies while Zolin and the chosen one discuss what to do as they observe two billboards: one of penguins being the theme of yet another major motion picture and one calling for pest removal of possums. As the chosen one walks away from Zolin’s demand for action, the decision is made by Zolin on what to do. Back at the penguin enclosure of the San Diego Zoo, the battle for control of the penguin tribe wraps up and the victor now faces a secret meeting to decide his people’s fate.

Penguins Vs Possums has actually come a rather long way in just 2 issues of publication. While the title and concept alone seem quite hilarious, there is a much more dramatic and surprising story being weaved by Kadlecik, Bring, and Calhoon. There are still a few pages of hilarious dialogue, as there was in the first issue, when the animals interact with humans. However, this story has become much more of an epic war tale that could be considered almost Shakespearean. Relationships and betrayal are definitely at the center of this story as these animals attempt to make sense of a war that has pre-existed them by generations. It almost reminds me of something on the level of The Secret of NIMH or Maus, yet a little more light hearted and action packed.

On the art end, the style presented by Sebastian Kadlecik has vastly improved since the last issue. The animals have become much more anthropomorphic, and therefore a little less funny to watch battle amongst each other, but far more enjoyable to see interact in serious dialogue. This advancement in art almost gives the comic a much darker tone, which will pull fans into the story greater. Bring adds to this art style with a strong sense of dark tones and gray scales, conveying a deeper visual effect than one might expect in a comic pitting penguins against possums. Over all it gives quite the brilliant feel to this anthropomorphic war tale. Of course, there is more art to Penguins Vs Possums #2 than just Kadlecik and Bring’s interior sequential art, as the comic’s second issue returns with 5 new pin-ups. I will be the first to admit these pin-ups are not the peak of artistic form, but they are quite humorous pieces, from Bring’s very ominous depiction of an archaic penguin vs possum symbol to Sarah Braly’s much more modern, and slightly sexed up, showing of some rather gangster penguin and possum girls. They certainly make for a nice, and lighter, treat at the end of the issue.

 

The Rating Bit

The humorous first few pages of Penguins Vs Possums #1 might give many fans a false view of the series, expecting a hilarious tale about Antarctic birds fighting oversized rodents. However, the much deeper story and art of Penguins Vs Possums #2 is actually very impressive. On par with many epic tales from Disney or DreamWorks, where animals replace humans in dramatic events, Penguins Vs Possums is undoubtedly an indie comic of note. I truly recommend comic readers surprise themselves with this great series, well deserving of a 7 out of 10. You can pick up your copy of Penguins Vs Possums online here or enjoy a free preview at PenguinsVsPossums.com