First published within a single compilation volume back in September of 2013, ‘Stitched: Volume Two’ was created by Garth Ennis with the story written by Mike Wolfer and artwork by Fernando Heinz Furukawa.  This second compilation volume contained all six of the original comics from the second series (issues 8 - 13).

DLS Synopsis:
After the survivors of Blackhawk Idaho-Six passed their intel about Emad Homayoun’s slave operation and his use of the undead on to the Special Activities Division (S.A.D.), a reacon team was set to be dispatched to the slaver camp.  However, Taliban presence in the area was deemed too heavy for the S.A.D. team to go in undetected and the mission was cancelled.

Nevertheless, S.A.D. knew the army was still very interested in whatever it was that Blackhawk crew had found there.  However, the army couldn’t let anyone know just how interested they were.

Knowing the potential importance of what had been uncovered, S.A.D. kept an eye on the location, tracking a convoy that scoured the camp just hours following the Blackhawk crew’s extraction.  A convoy that could have evacuated anything from the site.

In fact, as it turns out, not all of Emad Homayoun’s men were killed when the small group of coalition forces attacked Homayoun’s stronghold.  A smuggler by the name of Rashid Salib had gotten away.  And he took six of the Stitched with him.

Now he’s on board a container ship, forty nautical miles south of Karachi in the Arabian Sea, on a course for Sri Lanka.  There he plans to meet with a wealthy collector named Phillip Strathmore, who plans to purchase the ‘relics’ for his vast collection.

But his plan has not gone unnoticed.  A team of Navy Seals are en route to stop the sale of what they believe to be a deadly weapon.  But what they’re about to go up against will go beyond their training.  What they’re about to face in the dark Arabic Seas is a Black Magic that has the power to desecrate their team with ease.

For whoever controls the Stitched, controls a power that can crush any attacker.

The Stitched are out there.  And their time for vengeance is near…

DLS Review:

For the second volume in the ‘Stitched’ saga we’re thrust straight back into the uber-violent action, just three days following the devastation that was unleashed at the end of ‘Stitched: Volume One’ (2013).   Lieutenant Cassandra Cooper and the coalition team she fought alongside are out of the picture (for now at least).  Instead we have a crack team of Navy Seals taking on the Stitched and their new controller – the cruel misogynistic smuggling fuckwit Rashid Salib.

Of course when the Stitched are involved, things are going to get messy.  Salib knows the potential threat these undead killers possess.  He’s all too aware of the power he wields in controlling them.  However, when the party eventually arrive in Sri Lanka and meet with wealthy collector Phillip Strathmore, we finally learn of the diabolical history behind the Stitched.  In retelling this dark past, Mike Wolfer adds a whole new dimension to the Stitched.  A rich and eerie backstory that explains for the first time, the reasoning for the rattling tin can that wakens these undead killers.

Interestingly, Wolfer’s not given us any easy-to-identify protagonist in the majority of this volume.  Yeah, you have the Navy Seals.  But although they’re each named along the way, none are written with any particular character traits to get you really rooting for them.

Then you have Strathmore.  He’s not exactly what you’d call a protagonist.  Neither is he really a clear-cut antagonist (unlike Rashid Salib who’s instantly dislikeable).  Indeed, Strathmore’s one of the more intriguing characters to appear in the storyline.  An obsessive and highly intelligent collector.  A man who knows the history and danger associated with the Stitched and the supposed ‘Black Magic’ behind them.  Yet, despite all this knowledge, he’s willing to pay vast amounts to have them added to his collection.

For the most part, Volume Two expands upon our understanding of the Stitched, whilst delivering a fast-paced and utterly engaging storyline laced with treachery and deceit.  The first half or so of the graphic novel has the Navy Seals up against the marauding undead on board the container ship.  Think a reverse ‘Captain Phillips’ story, only instead of pirates we have a crack team of Navy Seals.  And then throw in the Stitched.  The end result is exactly the sort of bloodbath you’d hope for.

That said, the story behind this second volume doesn’t announce a clear direction or goal that we’re striving towards.  It’s more about playing it all out, and seeing how it pans out.  Of course, it’s not going to go quite as smoothly as Salib or indeed Strathmore plans.  The Stitched are a force that needs handling with the most extreme of care.  And a little double-crossing makes things get pretty damn nasty, as the graphic novel races towards its dramatic and carnage-filled conclusion.  Although, when I say ‘conclusion’, again it’s not as definitive as that.  In fact, it’s left pretty open for ‘Stitched: Volume Three’ (2014) to quickly take up the reins from.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 160 pages (which includes a twenty-four page ‘Cover gallery’).

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Stitched’ instalments:

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