REVIEW: “The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #2”

"The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #2" (w/a) Brian Churilla Oni Press 32 Pages, $3.99
“The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #2”
(w/a) Brian Churilla
Oni Press
32 Pages, $3.99

The second issue of Brian Churilla’s psychedelic epic simultaneously continues to dismay and disgust.

Much like the first issue, we join the hero mid-action, this time providing us the back story behind his first meeting with the one-eared red teddy bear who will be his guide through much of the series. As before, the issue jumps back and forth between Cooper’s adventures in The Glut, the sickeningly surreal psychic world that seems to have impacts on the real one, and the flesh-and-blood world of the Central Intelligence Agency.

As the yarn spins out, we learn more about Dan’s personal history, his continued conflicts with the CIA, and his apparently abysmal personal life. The reasons behind his quest also become clear, as we discover that his daughter, whom he has had visions of while exploring The Glut, was kidnapped from the back yard of his home in a moment of distraction.

Where the first issue almost seemed overloaded with moments of grotesque action, this one gives us a moment to catch our collective breath while providing some much needed explanation for the more fantastical elements of the story.

The construction of the tale is the most interesting part of the script, with scenes in The Glut paralleling scenes in the real world. It seems that the two worlds, in addition to directly influencing each other, are following a sort of mirror narrative where Cooper is driven to discover the secrets of The Glut and concurrently unravel the mysteries of his real world life.

The art does a tremendous job of conveying this to the reader, juxtaposing the larger than life images of The Glut with elements in the real world that remind the reader of the larger than life occurrences we take for granted every day.

There is little to nothing in the way of answers in this issue, and what few answers there are serve only to raise more questions. Cooper remains an unsolved riddle, but his gruff yet magnetic personality comes off the page and grasps the reader in its demand for sympathy. He is without a doubt the tale’s hero, but it would almost seem that his personal tragedies are making his journey that much more difficult.

D.B. Cooper continues to be the strangest yet most engaging book on the shelves, and it’s well worth the time and effort it will take you to parse through the layers upon layers contained within its pages. Churilla’s work continues to exceed expectations and, like his hero, demands your attention.

Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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