Royden Lepp smartly starts his second volume of “Rust,” “Secrets of the Cell” (out today from Archaia), with a flashback that answers some important questions about one of the heroes of the story, a boy named Jet Jones.
And Lepp continues to make smart choices, creating a volume that’s more satisfying than the first, though it still suffers from a bit of lollygagging here and there.
It’s a nifty adventure with war, robots, fighting and a hint of possible romance — all the things stereotypical boys are supposed to go for. But its heart gives it a wider appeal.
The story of Jet and the family he befriends continues as a couple mysterious figures show up at the farm and eventually wreak havoc on the struggling Taylors and their friends. Roman Taylor is trying to run his father’s farm without his father, who has yet to return home from war.
His younger brother, Oswald, is struggling with growing up, and his childhood friend, Jesse, was attacked by a robot soldier apparently headed towards Roman’s farm.
When all is said and done, barely a day passes in the pages of this book (not counting the flashback to 48 years earlier), but what a day it was in moving the story forward. We find out a bit more about everybody, and I’m anxious to see the third volume and dread waiting another year.
Lepp’s art and sepia tones are a perfect complement, full of emotion and great action sequences. You can see the weariness in Roman’s face and posture, but also his resolve as the action kicks up. And Jesse’s a beauty.
I’ll stick with my assessment in my review of the first volume: I think both could have been condensed into a single volume that serves the story better. But even taken as two pieces, it’s a darn good yarn.