Comic Review: “Abductables 2: Reticulous” (Derrick, Canales)

*KZZT* – – DO NOT HAVE SPHINCTERS – – I REPEAT – – THE LIFEFORMS DO NOT HAVE SPHINCTERS – – *KZZT*

If that opening line from The Abductables 2 doesn’t key you in to what to expect from the book, nothing will. Like the first Abductables book before it, Reticulous is an over-the-top, action-packed, juvenile, sci-fi comedy from beginning to end. The story (again written by Michael Derrick) picks up where the first book leaves off, where Agent Alden (aka “The Abductee”) has joined forces with the Greys as they do their darnedest to maintain order in the universe. Agent Alden is sent off on his most challenging mission yet, to confront and eliminate a new threat known only as “The Reptilian.” 

What follows is a nuanced, thought-provoking examination of evolution and mankind’s place in the universe. Nah. It’s a one-liner-laden bloodbath with a bit of exposition tossed in for good measure. I mean, there has to be some kind of method to the madness, eh?  Using a giant dildo-shaped electric weapon called “The Shocker” to defeat a giant fish? Check. Attaching an anal probe to a rifle like a bayonet? Check. After all, “If you can’t beat ‘em, probe ‘em.”

With as much fun as Reticulous is, it’s not perfect. There is a middle section that is a bit too heavy on exposition for my taste, and while it’s funny, I don’t think that it’s quite a funny as the first Abductables book. Of course, that may be due to the sequel not being as fresh as the first. 

On the art side, Ibai Canales’ work continues tox impress me more with every book he illustrates. I haven’t quite decided whether I prefer the color artwork of Reticulous over the black and white illustrations of the first book, but I imagine that most readers will prefer the addition of color. In any case, the characters are extremely expressive, and the over-the-top moments of action are very well done, with just the right amount of grotesque. I appreciated all of the new character  designs, particularly the green-armored alien strike force and the gelatinous blob designs of the female council of mothers. 

If I have any other criticism of Reticulous, it’s that the lettering size isn’t consistent, and at times is a bit too small for comfortable reading. 

While the ending of Reticulous leaves things open for a potential follow-up, it could also very easily close out the Abductables saga. As such, I’m pretty satisfied with this short but enjoyable tale, but I have to imagine that creator Michael Derrick is more than capable of crafting some ridiculous plot to keep things going in the future.

Thanks for reading!

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