Swan Songs #2 Review

Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Letters:  Good Old Neon
Publisher:  Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 9th, 2023

If you can only pick up one book this week, pick up Swan Songs #2.  Swan Songs is an anthology series, which means each issue is a full story with a beginning and ending.  And this story is one for the ages! It’s my favorite issue of any series this year.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Swan Songs #2 Review.

The Story

Each issue of the Swan Songs series features a story about something ending.  Last issue was a story about the world ending.  This issue, Swan Songs #2, is about the end of a relationship.  Surprisingly though, it also focuses a lot on the beginning of it. A married couple gets divorced and as part of the divorce terms, they have to occasionally battle in mortal combat for all of eternity.  As time passes, the two reflect on their relationship, even as they try to kill one another. Sounds insane?   Yep, it is, but it packs one hell of an emotional wallop.

Had writer W. Maxwell Prince concentrated on the combat and post-divorce venom between the couple, it would still have been an interesting story.  But what really makes it devastating is that as the two battle, we get flashbacks to when the couple first met, their years of blissful dating and marriage. Anyone who’s ever been in love with someone and in a serious relationship will identify with the two, how they start off snarky with each other but slowly their love grows.   It’s a universal love story and as we see these flashbacks, we grow fond of the two. Then we’re snapped back to the two battling each other, each trying to wipe out the other.

The issue masterfully manipulates your emotions.  There are hilarious moments that immediately switch to painfully tragic. In the end, you realize, as the old saying goes, that there’s a thin line between love and hate.  Passion can turn to rage, loyalty to betrayal, snarkiness to brutality, and the final page of the book is beautifully bittersweet. I’m not sure what happened to W. Maxwell Prince in life, but he seems to use his books to vent the angst of his life.  And if every issue of Swan Songs is as good as this one, I’m here for as long as the series continues.

The Art

Caspar Wijngaard’s art on Swan Songs #2 deftly handles the shifts in tone throughout the book. The art reminds me of Mike Allred’s work at times and there are moments when the couple both look attractive and both look horribly twisted, based on what’s going on. The combat scenes are surprisingly vicious and Wijngaard’s art gives the battles a visceral feel.

Final Thoughts

Swan Songs #2 is not only my favorite issue of the week, it’s my favorite issue of any book this year.  It takes you through every emotion possible and like the best books, it stays with you long after you finish reading it.  It’s superb and highly recommended.


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