21 Down Volume 2
Author: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Publisher: Warner Bros
Preston Kills has a power which not only promises to terminate his life on the day he turns 21, it also curses him with reliving the last moments of a murder victim's life if he touches their skin. This is a boon to his brother, who's a police officer, but it makes the character feel wretched, and he doesn't want this in his life - a life which was threatened in volume one by the very murderer Preston was hoping his brother would take down.
Preston's life was saved by the very provocative Agent Mickey Rinaldi who fortunately, is more than just her looks. She walks with him along the ocean front and explains to him about the existence of Genies - Genetically Enhanced Individuals. It's her job to study them, but she doesn't tell Preston that she has ideas of her own about how this study can be undertaken.
This story is intelligent and moves at a pace. The artwork is really good, and the whole package is nicely put together. For me, Mickey Rinaldi borders dangerously on comic book trope, but in her favor, she's a lot more complex than way-too-many comic book characters turn out to be, and one of these facets is her, shall we say, relaxed morality. She sought out our main character not just for his having a special power, but for the specific power he has. What he doesn't know, but she does, is that there are other people like him but with other powers.
It's in this volume that Preston learns that he's not the only one who has both a power and a death sentence. Rinaldi explains these things to him during their walk on the beach. She's not only provocative in appearance, she also shows that she's the same way in her behavior as she takes off her shoes to wade in the ocean, and invites Preston to "Get wet with me". Preston's hilarious response to that is to say, "No thank you Mrs Robinson"! At this point Rinaldi whisks him away to meet someone, although Preston isn't very enthusiastic. She suggests that she maybe will let him get her drunk if he complies. He doesn't deem to be much of an incentive evidently.
Through Rinaldi, Preston meets a woman like him, but whose power is that of having people fawn over her. She's like the goddess of love, and everyone, including her own parents, will do anything to curry her favor and attention, even to the point of viciously fighting-off rivals. Hence the problem our two characters have in trying to get their hands on her: they want only too much to get their hands on her! They both begin to succumb to her power, and this comic ends!
Overall, I rate this as a very worthy read and a really good story. It's nice to see a comic book that's not just great art, but which also sports a good story along with those pictures.