Review by Ian Keogh
Spoilers in review
Pariah’s introductory volume was impressive, and something new for graphic novels dealing with teenagers able to influence the world in almost unimaginable fashion. In the case of the Vitros this is via their prodigious intellect, the unexpected side-effect of drugs administered during their mothers’ pregnancy treatment. Four primary cast members were each given extended introductions in the previous book, and as reviewing this continuation requires divulging plot elements left unrecorded until the finale of that, don’t read beyond the third paragraph if you’d prefer ignorance.
Brett Weldele brings a unique and sparse look to the series with his sketchy figures and good sense for conveying movement, but has to do so using a very different environment for this book. His extremely limited selection of colours is more suited to this isolated location, and while his sense of spectacle is muted this doesn’t detract from the thrills the story provides overall.
As previously, the narrative voice for each of the four chapters is a single cast member, but differing from those previously introduced. Writers Aron Warner and Philip Gelatt continue their injection of credible characters, integrating them with the known quantities and twisting the plot beautifully on a couple of occasions. One of those is the ending, which considerably changes the status quo and leads us efficiently into the third book. Or, because it’s one of the clever aspects of Pariah, it can be taken as a complete ending, except one of optimism rather than the downer concluding book one.
The Vitros we met in the opening volume were gathered together by one of their number who believed he’d secured a deal for them to occupy their own island removed from humanity, who’d been manipulated into considering their intelligence a threat. Instead they were duped and now occupy a derelict space station with very limited provision for life, this being rationalised as a plausible removal of a threat without resorting to execution. This leads to a situation of consolidation, sacrifice and survival, but without becoming Lord of the Flies in space. While different in outlook, it’s every bit as enthralling as the previous material. Bring on volume three.