Written by: Brian Wood
Art by: Mark Chater & Lee Loughridge
Brian Wood’s debut issue of Briggs Land was powerful and engaging. He introduced readers to a dark pocket of American society that had seceded from the United States. The Briggs family is full of complex characters that fall somewhere between organized crime archetypes and political extremist stereotypes. Wood’s characterization of the family plays with the reader’s expectations of roles and power dynamics, while at the same time creating a singular, central character that the readers care about and connect with.
Issue #2 starts with Grace Briggs emerging as the matriarchal head of the Briggs family and laying down family rules for her sons. Wood build’s on Grace’s complex portrayal in the first issue by adding additional layers to the strength of her violent resolve to protect the world that the family has built over the years. There is also the realization that there are many living in the Briggs’ compound who are not living up to the ideals of her society. Grace is powerful and vengeful in one scene and gentle and compassionate in the next. Wood gives the reader some hints at her past and again uses the federal officers as narrators for the reader in order to put the pieces of the Briggs’ organization together. Except for the unnecessary side story of the federal officers’ insubordination and romance, every panel feels essential to the survival of these characters and their way of life.
Chater’s artwork remains subtle and compelling, providing hints of emotion around the hard edges of the Briggs family. Loughridge’s washed out colors provide a dismal atmosphere for the family that is fighting, both internally and externally, to hold onto what it believes in. The artwork contributes to Wood’s pacing and pulls the reader through this issue, leaving them hungry for the next chapter in this family’s tale.
Briggs Land continues to be a compelling must read. The characters and world this creative team are developing are worthwhile storytelling elements that can stand up against any other comics work.