Comics, Reviews

The Deviant #2 Review: Something Sinister

See what new secrets await to be unwrapped in the latest issue of The Deviant, the horror story for the holidays by James Tynion IV and Josh Hixson.

The Deviant #2 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:26 AM

The Deviant #2

Review
Rating
8
Good
The Deviant #2 Full Cover

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Josh Hixson

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: December 19, 2023

Page Count: 35

Format: Single-issue

“The Deviant” returns with a much slower-paced but still uniquely captivating issue that deepens the strange connections between the story’s characters.

Looking back on it now, 2023 was an incredible year for creator-owned comics. Image Comics consistently put out many of the best comics to read on a weekly basis. Then, just when I thought we’d already seen the best this year has to offer, James Tynion IV and Josh Hixson swoop in right by the end and drop something amazing with “The Deviant.“ With his full slate of killer horror titles, including W0rldtr33, Dracula, and Something is Killing the Children, Tynion was an unstoppable force this year because of his knack for exploring bold new stories alongside plenty of incredible artists. The Deviant is no exception, as its debut issue easily launched it as one of the most promising new series of the year.

Now that the series is back with its second installment, let’s check out my thoughts on the latest issue of The Deviant!

Michal examines Randall's photo

Overview

Michael continues his research into the story of The Deviant Killer to prepare for the comic he is writing about the famed serial killer. The writer speaks to Paul, one of the policemen who apprehended Randall that fateful night fifty years ago. While Michael hoped to get more information from the man, the two just didn’t see some things eye-to-eye. So, he returns to Randall himself to pick The Deviant Killer’s brain and piece together the story he wants to tell through his comic book. But is he telling Randall's story or one that hits much closer to home?

Paul gets flashbacks of the Deviant Killer

Review

The first issue of The Deviant was a killer debut because of its haunting balance of slasher film levels of gore, intriguing character studies, and Christmastime aesthetics. This second issue delivers a more dialed-back experience than the first, but it still is as riveting as ever in other distinct ways. The pacing is much slower in this one, as most of the issue has Michael engaged in one-on-one conversations. But it’s through those conversations that we see emotional and somewhat spiritual connections between Michael and Randall starting to form. Then, because it's a more dialogue-driven issue, there’s also less blood and gore on display this time around. But despite being less overtly disturbing, there is still an intense emotional tension that’s felt throughout the entire issue. By focusing more on Michael, this issue shows how his emotional and personal struggles bleed into and affect almost every other facet of his life. By the end of this issue, you can’t help but question how emotionally stable Michael is and if there are connections to the new Deviant Killer that’s lurking in the shadows. More than anything, this issue is a testament to the creative team’s ability to move at different speeds and tones to unwrap the details of their story in intriguing ways.

While plenty of what I’m describing about this issue’s story sounds incredibly mundane on paper, artist Josh Hixson deserves massive praise for making such seemingly ordinary moments feel so much more haunting and captivating. His work is especially striking in the early scene with Michael and Paul, the retired police officer. What starts as a pleasant conversation against a vibrant backdrop of Christmas lights and decorations slowly transforms into a dark and tense moment between the two conflicting characters. As much as this issue is powered by Tynion’s sharp script, Hixson controls the emotions of each scene with his nuanced character expressions and coloring choices. By the end of the issue, I was blown away when I realized how captivated I was by a story that was essentially just all talking heads. It left me incredibly excited to see what's in store for us when the story’s pace picks up from here.

Investigating the latest victim

Final Thoughts

As we are now deep into the holiday season, The Deviant is the perfect Christmastime read if you’re a horror lover. It’s a slow-burn read filled with plenty of subtly chilling moments that keep you guessing what comes next. Like one very twisted Christmas gift from James Tynion IV and Josh Hixson, The Deviant’s story unwraps itself more with each new haunting issue. With seven more issues to come, this one is sure to be a gift of a series that just keeps on giving.

Why You Should Read The Deviant

  • Josh Hixson’s art and color work are incredible and haunting.
  • The intrigue in the story is building as connections between Michael and Randall form.
  • The Christmas aesthetics bring a unique charm to such a dark story.
TAGGED: Image Comics
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