Evil genius Archibald Crane’s goal has been to kill the seemingly immortal hero Charles “Chuck” Baxter-and now, shockingly, it’s Chuck’s goal, too! Earth’s only superhero makes a devastating deal with the devil, as the past comes into focus and Chuck’s losses become too much for him to cope with!

The creative team of co-writers Adam Freeman and D.J. Kirkbride and artist Robert Love return to create the 2nd issues of this 3-part miniseries from Dark Horse Comics. Picking up where the first issue left off, it’s 2036 and the seemingly-immortal (or just really slowly aging) superhero, Chuck Baxter, has surrendered himself to his longtime nemesis, and former partner, the mad scientist Archibald Crane. They’re in Archibald’s lab, as Chuck willingly submits to a series of tests, hoping that Archibald can find a way to remove Chuck’s powers so that Chuck can finally die naturally. Then we get some more info on the backstory of these characters via flashbacks, as the story jumps back to 1962 when Archibald fist went rogue and became a supervillain, then back to 1945 showing when Chuck first met his future wife Ellie (he applied for a job working for her father), then ahead to 1978 when it started to become apparent that Chuck wasn’t aging like his wife and Son was, then up to 2031 when his son, now and old man, finally dies.

Without spoiling the details, I have to say that the final scene between Chuck and his son was extremely touching. At first, as I was reading this, I thought the non-linear storytelling of this issue was a little distracting, with all the time jumps back and forth. It was fine for the 1st issue, being an introduction and origin story, but I wasn’t sure if it worked as well here, and considered deducting a point for that, but this scene itself makes up for it.

At the point Chuck loses all his motivation (although we still see he has a granddaughter and a couple of great-grandsons, but it’s easy to see how the death of son made him just not want to stick around to outlive them all too) and he disappears for a few years, during which crime runs rampant, including Archibald. But now Chuck has returned. And Archibald, a feeble old man who can only move around thanks to machines, is as eager as ever to end him. I won’t spoil the ending, except to say that there is a bit of a twist. But I enjoyed. Freeman and Kirkbride did a great job with this story. And once again I must single out the artwork of Robert Love for praise. In a short interview printed in the back Love talks of being inspired by the art of guys like John Byrne and George Perez and I can totally see that influence in his style, and it works well.

The only downside here is that I feel spoiled being able to read one issues 1 and 2 back to back. So now having to wait for #3 to come out feels really inconvenient, as I cannot wait to see how this story wraps up. Chacebook rating: 5 STARS

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