By Dave DiGilio (writer), Alex Cal (art), Renato Faccino (colors)
North Wind #2 picks up exactly where the first issue left off. Pak is about to be eaten by dogs, when a bunch of near-rioting townspeople come to Joe (the tyrannous leader of Lost Angeles), and demand he turn the heat back on. Joe is convinced that Outcast Village is hiding energy, hording it for themselves. He doesn’t turn the heat back on, but he does let Pak and his mother go only to relentlessly pursue them later.
Using intimidation, Joe separates Pak from his mother and continues his run towards Outcast Village. Pak is found by the Skinrunner who keeps him protected. Pak soon discovers his village is destroyed. His mother dead. It’s just him and the Skinrunner now.
This story echos the hero’s journey seen in Star Wars and Mouse Guard, while its dystopian future is reminiscent of movies like Mad Max. What I don’t like is after Pak discovers his mother’s death he’s given little time to grieve (at least that’s what we’re shown). Instead, we get a montage of him training in the ways of the Skinrunner. The story, I feel advances much too quickly. Suddenly, the boy is a man, and sorry for the comparisons, but it’s like watching the opening of Conan the Barbarian. Soon enough, the Skinrunner dies and only Pak remains.
It would have been nice to have had more time with Pak as a child so that we could understand his connection to his mother and the village, but we don’t see that. We also don’t see how the trama affects him. Instead, he’s now just a grown man (who’s a bad ass) with a chip on his shoulder. Even as he’s dying, the Skinrunner knows Pak will eventually descend on a mission of vengeance. So, if this kid is lying and you know he will go against everything you taught him, why bother taking him in and raising him?
There’s a lot of potential for North Wind. The first issue was engaging, but this second issue stumbles a bit. (Grade: C)
– J. Montes
A Second Opinion
This book is full of clichés. It’s the textbook definition of the hero’s journey – no doubt about it. Next issue, Pak will probably meet the woman who was a little girl from issue #1. Fourth issue he’ll find out the solution to the fuel problem and by the fifth, he will avenge his tribe. Sometimes this type of story is well done, not this time – it’s too transparent for intelligent readers. But you be the judge reading #1 and #2 available for free. (Grade: D)