REVIEW: ‘88,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

88 #2 - But Why Tho

With its inaugural issue ending with a mysterious alien life form arriving onboard the S.E.S. Venture, 88 and Lem must now find a way to communicate with humanity’s first sentient extraterrestrial encounter in 88 #2 from independent comics creator Vashperado.

One of the most well-worn expressions in the English language has to “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.” It seems like we all at some point have made that vague wish for excitement or change, not really knowing what we want, just knowing we don’t have it. And then, inevitably, the universe seems to answer our vague request, just definitely not in the way we had envisioned.

88 is experiencing this phenomenon firsthand as her slow recovery from sleep is interrupted by Lem’s claim that there is an extra life form aboard the Venture. When the duo discovers the reason for this, we see two extremely different reactions. While Lem is overjoyed at the prospect of the scientific ramifications of their discovery, apparently, humanity has yet to encounter a sentient alien species. 88 is filled with all-consuming dread. The only person she has ever spoken to in her life is Lem and he’s just an AI. How is she supposed to make first contact with an alien life form?

88 #2’s exploration of her dread at getting the change in her routine she asked for is excellently done. Vashperado delivers 88’s fear with skillful writing that conveys the emotional impact of this terror-inducing meeting, while not grinding the book to a halt as it dwells on the emotional impact of the ship’s accidental discovery.

The other major narrative element we get in this issue is a glimpse into 88’s origins. As the book opens we get a look into what appears to be 88’s dreams. In it, we see another her, designated 01, presumably the first of her, as she makes some discoveries about herself and those who have created her. While the information this sequence provides would be upsetting in and of itself, it hints at an even greater implication—one that might explain why there may have been hints of 88’s personality being much more depressed than her predecessors. If she has memories of her original version, does she contain memories of every previous version? And presuming that every one of them has been tending the Venture through their existence as she has, it feels like depression and monotony would be inevitable.

While I thoroughly enjoyed 88 #2’s writing, it is Vashperado’s art that truly steals the show. The struggles 88 endures emotionally are wonderfully crafted and the moment of first contact is delivered in a double-page spread that takes the breath away. Combine this with a gorgeous, eye-catching color palette and you have a visual presentation that rivals any major comic publication. The lettering smoothly delivers the story along with some solid sound effects design to the book.

88 #2 delivers a follow-up that was worth the year-long wait. Vashperado has clearly thought through who their main protagonist is, along with the journey they are going on, and I cannot wait to continue it when the series returns.

You can get both 88 #2 and its predecessor at Vashperado’s Gumroad “pay what you want” here. If you enjoy this work, you might want to consider checking out the creator’s Patreon here.


88 #2
5

TL;DR

88 #2 delivers a follow-up that was worth the year-long wait. Vashperado has clearly thought through who their main protagonist is, along with the journey they are going on, and I cannot wait to continue it when the series returns.

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