Published on June 16th, 2020 | by Chrys Terlizzi
Decorum #2 Review
Summary: Decorum #2 is an artistic tour de force while Jonathan Hickman continues to weave his intriguing, mysterious tale.
This issue very slowly gives the reader a little more insight into our protagonists and their strange world. Jonathan Hickman’s writing style may not be for everyone, but for those that are fans of his work, you can see influences from throughout his portfolio all over this book. It’s like he’s taking all of the best parts of his previous books and compiling them together in this series. Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Jonathan Hickman’s work. That said, objectively, this story is extremely intriguing and well-crafted.
Often with Hickman’s work, his lofty plotting can get pretty confusing and downright frustrating for the reader at times. In the end, it almost always pays off beautifully when all of the puzzling plot threads come together and all of the early opacity becomes crystal clear. Part of that is what makes re-reading his work so satisfying. It appears that Hickman plays off of these expectations and makes an intentional choice to bookend the issue with his grandiose larger plot at the beginning and end. It serves to both grip the reader at the start and pique their interest for more by the conclusion. The meat of the issue is filled with fantastic dialogue and character development which serves as a mental break – it’s easy to follow and helps the reader begin to understand the book’s protagonists better. Had the entire issue been spent watching the Church of the Singularity and the Celestial Mothers speak vaguely about the strange egg, the reader could quickly get bogged down and become lost. Instead, the reader is given small tastes of this larger conflict while their appetite is sated with details of Morley and Neha’s family-lives and the society that they inhabit.
One last note on the writing – I don’t think I’ve ever seen the trick that Hickman pulls off where he leaves a series of word balloons blank in the dialogue, only to have them later filled in with a couple of prose-style pages of anecdote. It’s a fun little idea and an interesting twist of the comic book medium, expertly aided by Sasha E Head’s interlude page designs.
As well-crafted as the writing in this issue is, I can’t say enough good things about the art in this book. I was not familiar with Mike Huddleston’s name prior to this series, but I will certainly be watching for it long after this is finished. Huddleston applies a different art style to each scene in a way that is perfect for that particular section, greatly enhancing the reader experience. It is amazing that so many different art styles are contained within this book and it still manages to feel both cohesive and consistently applied across the board.
The issue starts with a beautiful cosmic watercolor style as the Celestial Mothers discuss the egg within their crystal ship. As the story shifts to the Church of the Singularity, the art switches to a more angular style rendered in mostly black and white, giving everything a more alien and robotic feel. When Chi Ro reaches out to God, we get an amazing ode to the comics of the ‘60s, complete with Kirby Krackle and Ben-Day Dots. As Mrs. and Mr. Morley discuss their days within their ornate mansion, the art switches again to a grayscale painterly style. I could go on and on, but this art needs to be seen to really be appreciated.The entire issue is incredible to behold and there’s a unique visual treat there for everyone.
As this issue begins to slowly flesh out Hickman, Huddleston, and Co.’s creator-owned series, I’m even more drawn into the story and I absolutely cannot wait to see what they have in store next. The team continues to find creative ways to build and explore this world and it is an absolute pleasure to go along on the journey with them.
Score: 4.5/5 stars
Words: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Mike Huddleston
Letters: Rus Wooton
Design: Sasha E Head