Deep Cuts #2 – Image Comics
Creative Team: KYLE HIGGINS, JOE CLARK, HELENA MASELLIS, Igor Monti and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Welcome to a brand-new edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast via Nerd Initiative!
For this entry, we’re checking out the next chapter into one of the most intriguing series hitting the local comic shops. Considering this book comes from the team over at Black Market Narrative, there’s no surprise on why it’s generating all the buzz it’s making. Deep Cuts #2 by KYLE HIGGINS & JOE CLARK, HELENA MASELLIS, Igor Monti and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou continues to highlight the history of Jazz music with a stop in Chicago 1928. Let’s not wait another minute and see (and hear) what’s happening here, shall we?
*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***
A New Year And A New City
Last issue, the journey started in New Orleans in 1918, showcasing a young musician’s rise in finding his voice in the city’s music scene. This issue kicks off in a dark theater in 1928. A man is on stage, talking to the audience about how his instrument and the music it plays gives him life. As he continues to speak, the lights come on to start a musical number. However, this moment proves to be a rehearsal and the direction it goes in is one not hitting the high notes.
Immediately, the production is stopped by its director Gail Gelstein, who emerges from the empty seats with changes in mind. However, the pressure is building for a hit show because Gail’s show “Kansas, Oh Kansas”, is featured on Broadway.
The theater manager Herman challenges her to double down on the strengths of the show: the music. If there’s anything to save a bad show, it’s a great song. He gives her an ultimatum: Deliver a hit jazz song in 48 hours. The story centers around someone becoming a jazz man, so Gail is questioned why there’s no jazz music.
Gail reveals she doesn’t know Jazz, but Herman tells her to make it happen, no excuses. With time not on her side, Gail heads home to Chicago for a wedding. When she’s talking with her parents about the song she’s working on, Gail reveals it has no title. Her dad gives her a tip for help in the form of Ray Stroh. Stroh works for Wolverine Publishing and might be Gail’s only hope for making a hit.
Can Gail and Ray pull this off? Will the show be saved? Readers see Gail’s quest into making a great song isn’t such an easy path. There are many stumbling blocks to overcome but Gail’s not letting go of finding the hit she desperately needs. The story shifts into some different directions leading to a surprising final act. Gail’s search for the music might not be the only thing she (along with the readers) discovers along the way before closing off this chapter.
Higgins and Clark continue to display the power of jazz with another strong issue. Gail’s story is one of determination mixed with self-discovery along the way. Knowing she needs to incorporate jazz into her production while not knowing anything about it made for a unique dilemma.
The dynamic between her and Ray works well as his excitement to help is balanced out with her drive to secure the song. Another great sequence is the banter with her brother Toby. His unlikely advice plays a big part in sending the story into a new direction. The revelation of why Gail wants to make this song work so badly is a great twist that readers can easily comprehend. It all ties back to the power of music and the connections it makes. This all leads into the final act which comes off as a bit of a surprise, but plays out showcasing the impact the music has truly made in one person’s life.
MASELLIS makes a huge splash with the art in this issue. The style feels vintage with elements of abstract mixed in. The time period is fully captured within the panels. There are many incredible full-page panels sprinkled throughout this issue. The one kicking off the musical start sets a huge tempo for the rest of the issue.
Gail’s train ride from New York to Chicago is another noteworthy visual montage capped off with her staring out the window while the conductor announces the arrival. Gail’s attention is lost in the song she’s building and the color scheme used to transition (excellent work by Monti) shows how lost in thought she had been in.
This comes back full circle on the train ride back, led in by the panel with Gail standing in front of her suitcases. Masellis delivers on projecting the energy of live music with Gail’s time in a few night spots. The crowd reactions let loose on how the music affects them. The emotional reaction isn’t left there as sharp readers will see through the issue: the only times Gail smiles in this issue is when she’s listening to music. It’s a testament to how impactful music can link with someone’s soul.
Final Point: 8.5 OUT OF 10
The music doesn’t skip a beat with Deep Cuts #2. Higgins, Clark, Masellis and the team guide readers through Gail Gelstein’s stop in Chicago with superb writing and exceptional art. There is literally nothing like this book on the shelves of the local comic shops. The series continues to be a must read for all fans & can’t be missed on New Comic Book Day.
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know what you thought of Deep Cuts #2. Thanks for reading Parlay Points on Nerd Initiative.