It took four months, but damn if it didn't make up for the wait.
Despite regular series artist Gerardo Zaffino having some "unforeseen complications" in his life, he teams up with comic dream boat Warren Ellis to make this issue staggeringly memorable - nearly half the issue is spent in wordless tension.
Zaffino and Fuso craft powerful images that display the Mad Monk in all of his brutal glory, and Dan Brown uses an incredible mix of vibrant colors, newsprint-y style impacts, and endless blacks to give the fight scenes real depth. Hell, that's what most people are going on about in #2: the fight scene.
Io9 compared this issue to Declan Shalvey & Ellis' incredible Moon Knight #5 in terms of visceral violence, and one has to agree - there's a terrifying fluidity to how easily Karnak can drift from one "opponent" to the next, and it's a frenetic sequence where every move has a correlating move that all line up together to leave every guard a pile of jelly. It's so vicious, and so cavernously silent, it's reminiscent of the Hallway Scene in Netflix's 'Daredevil.'
And really, the silence makes all the impact for me in this one.
Ellis directs the issue impressively, letting Karnak's steady progression through the tunnels and rooms seem like an inevitable tidal force, and the lack of dialogue allows Zaffino, Fuso, and Brown to steal the show. That's not to say the dialogue between Karnak and the Priest isn't compelling - it is. Extremely! But letting Karnak abuse the flaw in everything, from walls to doors to necks to fucking buildings, in terse silence? Stroke of genius.
This issue was a masterpiece, and furthermore, David Aja continues generating hauntingly beautiful covers. He utilizes the negative space in such a clever way, where it shows out truly out of place Karnak is wherever he goes.
It was a hell of a wait for what is one of Marvel's top-3 books, but after Karnak's assault on the temple and revelation that the Inhuman boy is somewhere else, the wait from issue 2 to issue 3 may feel even longer.
LOWDOWN: What the hell else do you think I'm going to give a Warren Ellis book? 10 out of 10 pelvic thrusts. Get this shit into your eyeballs ASAP.