Story: Erica Schultz & Van Jensen
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
What They Say:
An assassin is loose in the City, and Satya is the target! This points the Lady Dick toward a new suspect in her investigation into the murder of her former mentor. But before she can follow this trail of clues, our pugnacious private detective will have to survive the assassin’s blade
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Erica Schultz and Van Jensen delivered an intriguing if somewhat complicated opening installment for this series that definitely got you hooked if you put in the effort to it. The pair have put together a near-future piece that leans a lot into the present and extrapolates it in a way that may frustrate some that are looking for escapism, but it takes an interesting approach to it. With a lot of the setup out of the way, the second installment builds from there and having the talented Aneke illustrate and color it definitely gives it a wonderful distinctiveness about it. I don’t get to see their work as often as I’d like but whenever I do it’s definitely the take-notice kind of work and this is no exception. I love the character designs, some of the ways the pages are laid out, and the whole color design is just fantastic.
This issue picks up right where things left off with Satya being attacked and it’s a solid fight sequence as she goes up against her camouflage opponent in the rain. It has all the right colors to it and the action moves around well as she struggles against the better opponent with all the advantages. She does find a way to at least push back some and to come away from this as a draw instead of her being killed, but it makes it clear how Devin was attacked. Even worse is that when she does see the footage later with the other guy she’s dealing with, it’s clear that the camouflage works so well that it looked like she was just fighting absolutely nothing. If not for making physical contact and tearing at her opponent some, she could have dismissed it as happening at all.
Satya’s path takes some bad directions here as she’s doing some investigating in the gulch, which fills us in more on the terrible things that have happened here, and finding her brother there trying to become an influencer. This draws her back eventually to Jenn as he’s been watching her on the public feeds and figures he can use her to take down Wilkes, trying to make it clear that he’s the one responsible for Devin’s death. Satya wants so little to do with him and even Wilkes as that feels like it goes bigger than she can think at the time, but when she ends up at the fancy party and so much gets confirmed it just reinforces her desire to take it all down. Especially since she saw her parents there as well among the hoi-polloi and just how much that eats at her soul.
Bylines in Blood continues to deliver an interesting experience that I have to make sure I don’t think about the world design much of. If I try to figure out how we got from point A to this point B, I can’t make it work. But dropping into the middle of it and trying to discern who it works is a lot of fun and seeing how the focus on Satya explores more of this kind of twisted world is neat. The team has brought together some intriguing elements here and I like Satya more this time around than the first and what she’s attempting to do. The more one gets into the design of this world the more you want to see how she’s going to deal with things and to potentially end up in a better place by the end. It’s a solid read with great artwork.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: February 9th, 2022