White Ash #2
Writer: Charlie Stickney
Artist: Conor Hughes
Colorist: Fin Cramb
Review by Anelise Farris
White Ash #2 is the continuation of the fantastic (in both senses of the word) love story that was introduced to readers in issue #1. There we met Aleck, a miner’s son, who has fallen in love with Lillian, the mine owner’s daughter. It’s more than class that’s keeping them apart, however, as Aleck unearths a family secret that changes everything he knows about himself and the tiny town of White Ash.
Aleck learns more about what it means to be a half-dwarf—much of that through a previously-filmed recording as his dad is in a medically-induced coma. And he discovers that Lillian, the girl of his dreams, is an elf. Together they hope to discover what exactly is going on in White Ash before more people die. And, as White Ash #2 concludes, we’re left wondering if Aleck himself might be a victim.
So yes, you might be thinking, this has the makings for an overly-familiar story: class issues, forbidden love, an overbearing father, and, oh yeah, there is a family secret, horror elements, and a strong dose of magic, too. However, what makes White Ash so exciting is that it is anything but ordinary! First off, it’s set in rural Pennsylvania, and, although it has the depth of a Medieval fantasy tale, it is actually set in the modern day. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
High-fantasy is hard to do, and White Ash #2 excels on all accounts. The dialogue is believable, with equal parts humor (apparently all miners under 5’ 4” are dwarfs and Aleck is not exactly as young as he thought) and genuine emotion conveyed through Aleck’s gradual self-discovery. The gorgeous art pairs well with the writing, and I am a huge fan of the wordless panels that convey a strong depth of emotion. One of my frequent complaints of horror-tinged (or full on horror) comics is that they use so many dark colors that my eyes hurt after a while. Thankfully, we do not get that here. The colors in White Ash #2 are moody and dark at just the right moments, while allowing for brighter spots that really showcase the layers of this story.
Verdict: Buy it.
White Ash is an independent, creator-owned series that can be purchased here. And the first issue, as well as White Ash #2, will be available in a standard and limited variant cover edition on Kickstarter from February 12th to March 14th, 2018. You can check out a teaser video for White Ash #2 here.