The Whistling Skull is awesome, but it seems like each issue is trying to bite off more than it can chew. In each twenty four page issue they are trying to cram a little bit of four different story lines in. As a consequence each story line just isn’t moving along that quickly. This is only the second issue though, so it may be growing pains of a new title. Only problem with that, is that this isn’t supposed to be ongoing, it only has a five issue run. I’m sure this is all planned out, but right now it seems like they won’t get to the end, by the end.
The first of the stories that they are trying to tell takes place in Japan. The JSA including skull are trapped in some kind of crazy battle with some kind of villains. Last issue there was a giant mech. This issue Skull is trapped in a coffin with some kind of critter.
Skip to next story line. The Skeleton are trying to determine whether or not to announce that The Whistling Skull is dead in Asia somewhere. The rest of his team has been recovered, but they are thinking that he is dead.
Skip to next story line, and this is the main story line. Back in a European village Skull and his “simple” partner are investigating the disappearances that are happening in the little town. To that end they decide to go see the traveling circus that is in town. This isn’t a circus with animals and clowns though. It is more a traveling freak show that terrifies poor Nigel. He runs from the tent and we…
Skip to the next story line. We are in the past again where we learn more about the origins of Nigel and Williams friendship. Nigel is simple and slow, and doesn’t ever defend himself against the bullies that are always picking on him. William wants to help him understand that he is bigger and stronger than the people that are picking on him. Nigel is willing to stand up for himself with Williams encouragement.
Back tot he main story line. The two heroes go into the woods surrounding the village in the hopes of finding out what is happening with the disappearances. They run into some kids that are fleeing for their lives, and Skull shoots the perpetrator, who looks stunningly like one of the freaks from the freak show.
The writing is a bit scatter brain sometimes, but it seems like B. Clay Moore has a handle on what is going on. I’m hopeful that by the end of the five issue run we will have a really clear picture of what is going on. Tony Harris continues to provide some of the most amazing and visceral art that I have seen in a comic in a while, and that is a big part of what keeps this title so great to me. Visually this book is a treat.