Thanks to my husband, a huge fan of “Anomoly” who helped write this review.
The 2012 release of “Anomaly” was an event. Anomaly was a massive graphic novel both in terms of its length and the sheer size of the book itself. The art was top notch and the companion app elevated this book beyond your standard science fiction fare. It was a beautiful coffee table book for the unabashed geek.
Moreover, the story of “Anomaly” (while not immune from a few tropes) still felt fresh. Far in the future, the galaxy is ruled by the Conglomerate – a corrupt, human-controlled galactic empire that oppresses the majority of its citizens in order to benefit a privileged families. The story begins when a disgraced former Conglomerate soldier is assigned to guard the daughter of one of these powerful families on a peaceful first contact mission to another world, Anomaly. If you’re reading this article and/or a fan of science fiction, you know by now that this “peaceful” mission is anything but, and that things will quickly take a turn for the worse for our band of explorers.
Those travelling to Anomaly find it to be a hostile word populated by creatures and races seemingly pulled from a fantasy novel. The planet’s inhabitants use swords, wear armor, and wield magic. Our explorers are forced to do the same as they soon find that the planet itself is hostile to their advanced technology. While captivating, the events taking place on Anomaly are only a small piece of a larger story involving the evil Conglomerate and the secret history of Anomaly. After over 300 pages, most of the planet side plot threads are resolved and there is a promise of the beginning of a bigger adventure.
Anomaly 2 begins where its predecessor left off with the team that traveled to Anomaly hell-bent on taking on the fight back to the Conglomerate with help of a few new friends. Their plan is to attack the Conglomerate during The Rubicon, a popular, large scale event which entertains the masses through a series of brutal executions/gladiator matches. Of course things (again) do not go as planned and new threats, characters, and galactic powers take the stage in this worthy successor to 2012’s beast of a graphic novel.
There was much to like about this book but it left me with a slight sense of disappointment. Unlike its predecessor, “Anomaly 2” has a beginning and a middle but not really an end. It also has 70 less pages than its predecessor and, as a result it opens more doors than it goes through. For example, one of the most interesting parts of “Anomaly 2” is a new and seemingly unstoppable alien race that is very hostile to the Conglomerate. However, this race is given too little screen time and their role in the story feels a bit rushed. Additionally, the attack on the Conglomerate has been built up for hundreds of pages and, when it came to fruition, it felt slightly anticlimactic and also rushed.
It is certainly not a bad thing for a second book to end on a cliffhanger with a promise of more. However, “Anomaly 2” has barely enough meat in it for it to be labeled as a true sequel. It almost feels more like Anomaly 1.5. Said another way, it’s more “Halo: ODST” than “Halo 4”. It would have been far more satisfying if it had been released along with an announcement for Anomaly 3, so that the fans would know going in that they will not getting much closure.
Fans of the first Anomaly will be fans of this second entry. The story picks right after the first one ended, the art is still spectacular, and it (like its predecessor) is a great way to spend an afternoon. In short, if you liked Anomaly, Anomaly 2 is more of the same – which is a good thing – I just wish it was a bit more of the same.