When I read the first issue of Reptil, I was unfamiliar with the character, and thankfully that issue provides a recap that enabled me to understand the character better. It was an issue that hooked me in, especially considering that this is a Marvel character I hadn’t read about until now. Now that that’s out of the way, we have Reptil #2, which continues the title character’s story.
In my review of the first issue, I mentioned that even though I got an exposition-heavy recap of the character and his supporting cast, I was never bored. Now that all of the exposition is out of the way, there’s the second issue. Now I know who Reptil, aka Humberto Lopez, is, and I know his deal. We don’t need any more exposition on his origins, and now we can move the story forward. So does Reptil #2 do that? For this reader, the answer is a resounding yes!
What I loved about this issue is that compared to the first issue, it feels tighter. I understand why the first issue had to rely on some exposition and recap, but this issue is better. The story moves forward, and there’s a briskness to it. And considering that this issue is a miniseries, it’s easy to fall into that misstep of being rushed with events passing by in quick succession, but that is not the case. Blas manages to let us feel what happens in the story and understand the stakes involved in the quest undertaken by Humberto and his cousins, Eva and Julian.
Another aspect of the writing that I did appreciate is the character writing that Blas employs here. As I’ve mentioned in my review of the first issue, having a Latinx writer like him means maintaining a level of authenticity that I feel wouldn’t have been present had a non-Latinx writer been in charge. In this issue, though, Blas delves into the character’s identity, addressing themes of keeping one’s heritage alive and the importance of representation.
Representation can be tricky because when writing characters who don’t conform to the dominant culture of superhero comics, the execution can be rough, no matter how good the intentions are, which is why it is crucial to highlight marginalized voices and marginalized voices characters in comics. In a world where readers are not just cis-gendered, heterosexual white men, representation can be refreshing. It can provide an opportunity to have different and complex perspectives, especially for readers. And this issue is a reminder of the importance of that aspect of representation: not to provide more voices but also to allow for more nuance.
While the writing is indeed stellar, the artwork is not to be ignored. Enid Bálam finally gets to depict some hardcore dinosaur action, and it’s pretty impressive. While there are some instances where the characters look off in terms of facial expressions and certain poses that seem to abuse the concept of body anatomy, it doesn’t necessarily ruin the flow of the issue. There’s a stylishness to it, bolstered by Olazaba’s inks, which maintain that feeling of this being a comic about superheroes. Both of them create a unified “look” of sorts with the comic, which works well with the scenes in this comic, whether that be the conversation between Humberto, Eva, and Julian or the scenes where the former taps into his dinosaur form to fight. When I was reading this issue, there was the feeling of a Saturday morning cartoon, which fits well with the overall story: that of being an adventure to look for one’s past and being a beacon for the others to look up to, while also getting involved in the fantastical aspects of the world they inhabit.
Last but certainly not least, the letters by VC’s Joe Sabino always stay consistent. It may be in tandem with the Marvel house style of lettering, but it is readable, and there’s a strong sense of clarity to it, with some of the nuances of Blas’s script, such as the Spanish words translating very well to the words that we read.
As this is a four-issue miniseries, half of Reptil is over; leaving me wishing that I could read more, if only for the simple fact that Humberto and his supporting cast are interesting, especially regarding the world they inhabit.