Out on Wednesday March 1st. Nadler and Thompson kick paranoia into high gear with, The Dregs #2, from Black Mask Studios. With the dastardly duo of Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson writing the ongoing nightmare that is Arnold’s life. Eric Zawadzki (Headspace) and Dee Cunniffe (Revival) continue to supply the art for the series. With Arnold having just OD’d and been taken by the mysterious paramedics, it would seem he’s about to share Manny’s fate.
Arnold awakens woozy and still under the effects of Listo, to a pair of EMT’s trying to shave his head. He quickly starts to make his escape, breaking one of their fingers with a kick, and spiting blood in the other face. He gets free and bolts through a maze of hallways, bursting out an exit he finally see’s daylight again and makes his way into the city. He’s been walking for so long at this point his feet start to bleed, and he see’s the woman from outside Manny’s for help. She cleans his wound’s and gives him shot of Listo to help ease the pain, Arnold’s physios takes over and he slips into an old detective novel. He decides he’s back on the case, because if it’s not him, then it’s no one. He needs answers so he hits the streets, this time with new leather shoes. First is the local needle exchange Safesite, he gets a few answer’s but not enough. Then it’s off to confront Labamba, but that doesn’t yield the results Arnold was hoping for either. It’s time to get witness interviews now, he heads to an old theater that’s now a place a lot of homeless squat. Arnold ask’s who else is missing and gets a list, and not all OD’d, some just went missing. He finally talks with a woman who was a friend of Manny, and she gives him a picture she drew of what she saw. Arnold has no idea what to make of the picture or it’s meaning, and starts to show it to everyone he see’s asking what they saw. As the sun sets, an officer takes Arnold to the shelter at the local church and makes him stay the night. He describes it as a place of lawlessness with little attention and even less funding. Looking for a bed he finds an empty one, a man nearby warns Arnold that it’s the Ice Cream Man’s bed, so he leaves. He finds another spot on the floor, but then puts something together in his head and goes back to the bed. The Ice Cream Man show’s up, and Arnold interrogates him. But Ice Cream Man only wants to talk about the smell the restaurant has and why he was there, finally after loosing his cool, Arnold gets some answers. Manny is where the buildings are tall and block out the sun, on the other side of the city, where Arnold used to live.
Just when I thought The Dregs could not get any better, it shows me how wrong I am. Delving deeper into Arnold’s sub-par mental faculties, it still makes us question at every turn, what’s real? What’s just a figment of a sick mind? Is everything connected? It keeps dropping us further down the rabbit-hole, finding tiny clues along the way. The design of this book really impressed me as well, using new methods to tell the story. Such as the spread on pages 18-19, showing the journey inwards, forcing the reader to turn the book to read all the content. I loved it, as well as the margin art illustrating Arnold’s impossible task much like Sisyphus. Plus several other creative ways the team puts more content into the comic itself, the level of pride shows. You can tell this is more than just a book to the whole team, and I have a good feeling they will be doing a lot more. I guess it’s not hard to see why The Dregs is one of my favorite series out right now, and if you haven’t read issue #1 yet then make sure to look for a 2nd printing which hits stores the same day. ▲•