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When starting reading Issue 2 of The Occultist, I had to wonder if the publisher had made a mistake. Was this really part of the same series? Just two panels in, the reader is confronted with a shocking sight: an ordinary woman. In a series where the rest of the female characters are perky nymphets with bikini-model bodies, the sight of a plain-looking hausfrau was nothing short of amazing.
But of course Mrs. Frumpy was only a bit player, and the next scene returns us to the usual fare of buxom women whose breasts are hellbent on escaping their tops.
Like Issue 1, Issue 2 zips around like a bumblebee on speed. After being introduced to Mrs. Frumpy and her equally plain husband in Calvert, California, we jump to a semi outside of Littleton, New Hampshire. The driver (who looks like a refugee from a leather bar) is driving a sexy redhead to Plymouth, but the glimpse of a reptilian tail emanating from her posterior suggests that she’s not entirely human.
Next, we’re whisked off to Plymouth, where our hero, Rob Bailey, unleashes his mystic whoopass on the gaggle of supernatural foes who were trying to kill him at the end of the last issue. His foes have some cool abilities, but Rob is able to vanquish them all without even a bead of sweat on his forehead. Detective Melendez is ostensibly fighting alongside him, but she does nothing except thrust her bosoms out and complain.
The next scene shift brings us the single most irritating part of the entire series: Rob’s girlfriend, Valerie MacGregor. In the last issue, she was portrayed as something of a sex kitten. In this issue, she’s portrayed as something of an idiot. When she wakes up alone after having sex with Rob in the last issue, she gets all panicky and decides that she has to run after him.
“You’re not supposed to leave me. Heart beating so fast. Hurts.” Yeah, she actually says that. I really hope that there’s some explanation for her behavior, because right now she’s an appealing candidate for president of the TSTL Society. I don’t want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say that Valerie’s heroics lead her straight into the villain’s clutches (I never saw that coming!). Despite being a serious contender for the Darwin Award, I have a feeling she’ll probably survive the series.
The rest of the issue has more abrupt scene shifts. After effortlessly defeating most of his enemies, Rob finally gets beat up by a snake-demon-thing (who was disguised as the sexy redhead earlier in the issue). Just as Cobra Lady is about to administer the coup de grâce, the two statuesque bounty hunters from Issue 1 arrive on the scene and one of them whisks Rob and Detective Melendez away to a “Babylonian Pocket Garden” (which admittedly looks pretty freakin’ awesome).
But Rob may have exchanged the frying pan for the fire, and, as always, the issue ends on a cliffhanger. Although a lot happens in this issue, we’re still no closer to understanding the ‘big picture.’ We learn some interesting tidbits about Rob’s life, but we’re still in the dark as to the exact nature of his great powers.
Most of the time, Rob is so overpowered that he’s something of a Marty Stu, and it isn’t until Cobra Lady starts beating him up that he appears to be in any real danger. Since this is a three-issue series, the final issue is going to have its work cut out for it if it’s going to provide a satisfying conclusion to the current storyline.
OVERALL GRADE: C-