The Vigil #2 from DC introduces readers to the complicated hero called Arclight. Ram V pens the story while Lalit Kumar Sharma turns the tale into vibrant images. Rain Beredo paints some mild hues that sparkle in grand form along the way, while Dave Sharpe keeps the word balloons spotless. The amazing first issue of this comic of Indian antiheroes showed off not just them but the subcontinent and its intrigues as well. This time around, the focus narrows mainly to one character, General Khan, codename, Arclight.
The issue begins with an origin or, to be more specific, a motive. Captain Aqib Khan is a member of the Indian military and has been informed of some horrible news. There has been a chemical spill near Umiadh, alongside a resulting explosion. Deaths are numerous, including the captain’s family. Now I know many don’t like real-world equivalents in their fantastical comics, but I love it. They serve to remind us that horrible things take place, and it grounds our heroes. This particular tragedy seems to be referencing the chemical leak in Visakhapatnam (2020) and even the 1984 Bhopal Disaster, both of which had terrible, long-lasting effects. This is tragic, but it informs us about what is going on in Khan’s heart, reminds us of heartache in another part of the world (lest we forget), and lets the writer bring a bit of their world to us.
So this story moves to the present, where Khan is now Arclight and is part of the Vigil. He’s still obsessed over the chemical spill and its many injustices, but when duty calls, he goes. The Arclight costume is faceless, bright green, and illuminated yellow. Very comic book superhero. He’s been sent to Camp Weston, a military base that’s been up to some funky experiments. A crate sent here was tagged last issue by Dodge and Saya; now it’s Arclight’s job to uncover what’s going on here.
He’s guided via comms by Dr. Sankaran, with occasional protest from the intelligence agent Ms. Saha. Their conflict builds up nicely in this issue as they debate whether or not Arclight should have been sent into this base alone. So this is a story about Arclight’s effectiveness going solo, but it’s also our look into this character’s resilience and the levels of obfuscation the Vigil will go through to accomplish an operation.
The Vigil #2 is a terrific issue with a dramatic storyline that is big in terms of action, but things will also get weird. There’s so much shade in this organization, with only just enough revealed to readers about certain characters. This is very Shadow Cabinet from old Milestone or DC’s Checkmate. All the signs are there. This is not the Justice League. But it also isn’t quite the level of scorn and maliciousness found with Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad. The Vigil is its own thing that unveils its strengths, familiarities, and disasters. Trust in Sharma’s bold, straightforward art with amazing full-page scenes, the certainty of Beredo’s hues, and the support of Sharpe’s letters.
This is such a good book mixing superheroes and international espionage. Arclight makes for a complicated antihero and perhaps even a leader for this subversive team. The characters are solid yet enigmatic, and, along with the other disturbing things happening behind their backs, I cannot wait to see where the operation leads them. Folks, show this issue and the series some love. Get your copy.
The Vigil #2 is available wherever comic books are sold.
The Vigil #2
This is such a good book mixing superheroes and international espionage. Arclight makes for a complicated antihero and perhaps even a leader for this subversive team. The characters are solid yet enigmatic, and, along with the other disturbing things happening behind their backs, I cannot wait to see where the operation leads them.