Comic Review: ’27’ Second Set by Charles Soule & Renzo Podesta

From Image Comics, Charles Soule, Renzo Podesta, W. Scott Forbes, Shawn Depasquale, Tim Daniel, Jade Dodge, and Jim Valentino.

Having been late to the game when it comes to 27, it wasn’t long after I read the First Set that I knew the Second Set would be coming out. I initially thought: “where in the hell can this story go from here?” Knowing that Will Garland had some button pushes left and he was going to try to improve himself, I had a lot of faith. And now that I’ve read it, I’m more amazed by the work of Charles Soule and Renzo Podesta than I was after I read the First Set.

As the story opens, Will Garland is back with a new style of play. He’s got a new brace, he’s gone left, and has a new shit attitude empowered by fame, angry as to how slow it’s progressing. This Set is focused on fame itself, as a defining force that most strive to achieve, some who will do anything to get it back, and ultimately regretting fame for the different kinds of attention it can bring us. Let’s just say that Garland’s latest trek into fame can be summarized by three phrases: Decent looking groupie and certain acts, leads to a button push, which leads to what I like to call a “fuck it-fireworks display.” Garland then garners a whole bunch of attention he doesn’t want, including lies spread about him on a late night talk show and an attempt to take the chest piece out of him.

Soule introduces a few new characters including a witch named Valerie, a former one-hit wonder from the 80’s and Fred, the former manager. They hash a plot to get the chest piece from Will that goes awry, leads to murder, the mass killing of many one-hit wonders from the 80’s and the largest concert ever delivered. We also get a visit from the god of fame, an individual with heterochromia, very inspired by David Bowie, who gives and takes fame away. He’s always willing to make a deal if the price is right and for Valerie, the price is very personal, jaw dropping, and amazing by it’s implications. Just what would you do to have that fame and celebrity that you once had before? That’s what this trade explores, the impact of what it means to be widely known to those who want it; those willing to sacrifice everything for it, and those becoming un-want to it.

Soule and Podesta have outdone themselves with this trade, coming off the larger than life nature of the First Set, the Second Set takes the story in unexpected, breathtaking, and brilliant ways. The team of Soule/Podesta is one that I’ve come to rely on for a great story, especially after reading the Second Set. We know there is at least one more Set to come, possibly the Encore; when that happens, I’ll be saddened by the loss. I WANT to see more from this duo, whether it’s 27 or something else, these guys are high-quality storytellers and deserve the amount of readers in proportion to the amount of people that attend the “largest concert ever” in this trade. More so, this is a comic team that deserves to be up there with names like Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríquez and of course Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. The hardest part now is waiting for more, the unknown third Set has yet to be announced, but in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the two Sets that are currently out. I cannot recommend these trades enough, stop now and buy them!

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