Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Cover Artist: Gary Frank
Publisher: Image Comics
The Earth has been devastated by nuclear war, but more than monsters roam the desolate wastes of the planet. There’s a walking nuclear horror in the shape of a man called Geiger, appropriately named. And there are many dangers and secrets lying in wait in this mutant infested, post-apocalyptic world. But Geiger #2 takes some time to explore some of the people who live in it.
So, there’s plenty to like about Geiger: Gary Frank’s art, the colors from Brad Anderson, the origins and design of the titular Geiger himself, and the post-apocalyptic nuclear Earth. However, this comic shies away from showing the more special parts about its new world, and when it does it’s in a blink and you miss it kind of way. It was a problem in the first issue and now in the second issue. I believe Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are taking the slow buildup approach with this comic, so we’ll see.
Let’s start from the top. There is a story in this comic, but it has nothing to do with what was setup at the end of the previous issue. Where the young “King of Las Vegas” was going to hunt down Geiger himself. Instead it jumps forward a little and focuses on brand new characters instead of Geiger. Although it does give a quick flashback to his origins before the nukes went off.
The comic focuses on Carolina, a black waitress and single mother in Las Vegas who’s trying to make ends meet for her family. She’s worried for her kids and their lives in Las Vegas, but then some travelers come in with a grand prize that could change the life of whoever owns or uses it. She takes the chance to give her kids a better life, but things spiral out of control for her. Soon enough catastrophe follows her family until destiny comes knocking with Geiger himself.
I imagine the purpose of this story is to give a grounded view of what life for people in the post-apocalyptic Las Vegas is like. The comic does a solid job of this by showing rather than telling what the everyday lives for the people in Las Vegas is like. The art and designs from Gary Frank are great, especially the facial expressions on the characters, while Brad Anderson continues to kill it with the colors.
Life in this Las Vegas is nothing too out of this world, in fact it’s pretty tame except for the Middle Ages theme they’ve got going on. The problem is it’s holding back on some of the other unique things about life there that the comic doesn’t really explore enough. There is some genuine world-building in this comic as it establishes more of the mutant-ridden nuclear world and some of the power dynamics of the people who rule Las Vegas.
If you’re wondering where’s Geiger in all of this, he essentially comes in pretty near the end at a point where you almost forgot this is supposed to be his comic. This issue feels like it should have been a third issue, not the second issue of the series. It’s possible this issue is supposed to be setting up the main storyline for the rest of the comic going forward. The comic’s narration even said that it’s telling this story but will get back to Geiger’s story after it.
And that’s the big problem. We barely know anything about Geiger himself other than his powers and origins. The first issue gave hints about what he’s like in the present but that’s about it. Heck, we don’t even get to see his fight with the King of Las Vegas and his hunting party, which happened off-panel. But we do see the repercussions of the fight for the young mad king to be sure.
Sadly, it feels like the variant covers for Geiger are doing more excitable world-building for this comic series than the actual comics so far. I still have hope the next issue will turn it around, but we’ll see.
Geiger #2 takes its time to tell a more grounded story to show some of the people’s lives in its post-apocalyptic world. However, it feels like it should’ve come after some more development with the titular main character. That said, the art and colors are great, and the story and dialogue is well-written. Hopefully, there’s some payoff to this story in the next issue.