The second collection opens with confusion: a ten-year old girl named Katie Lawrence is remembering her life and the fall that killed her, with Elle as witness. Elle comes to in Katie's body, with two urgent missions. First, she needs to correct the official declaration of Katie's accidental death: Katie clearly remembers being pushed down the stairs by her black sheep older brother. Second, she must convince everyone that she is really Elle in Katie's body. Of course that's a really hard sell. But she knows enough intimate details to convince her best friend Jo, and Doctor Geller at the hospital (as well as the detective assigned to her case) are starting to believe that something mysterious is happening.

Meanwhile, the apparent conspiracy behind her coma deepens. Elle's mother confers with a doctor at the hospital. The doctor reports to The Fifth (his "Chief"), there is a timetable for Ellis' move to the Facility...and there is less than 48 hours before the "next phase."

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Quite a sequence of actions and double-crosses in the last part of this arc. It is definitely hazardous to have dealings with any of these characters, even the ones that seem sympathetic. Elle discovers that she has apparently been in the in-between spirit zone before her accident, and in fact was prepared for it by her therapist. There's a striking silent issue ("Speechless") in which Jo learns that Elle knew she was about to do something dangerous, and Dane's father is taken off the board, an act in which Jo becomes accidentally complicit. Finally, we discover who the mystery man in the hoodie is, and there is a useful map laying out the relationships between all of the characters known to be part of the action. As Eddie Jr (Elle's brother) says, "There's far more to my sister than any one person could ever know."

In the extra material in the back, creator Jim McCann reveals the real-world theatrical activities that underlie his story. And he provides a helpful two-page spread of the character map, "for those playing detective." The only thing I wish it had was labels with all the character's names. I have no trouble recognizing the faces--kudos to artist Rodin Esquejo for clear character designs--but don't always remember the names. And the script rarely re-introduces any of the characters by name.

All in all, an excellent second volume. While deepening the mystery, the story also answers as many old questions as it raises new ones.

Mark said:

In the extra material in the back, creator Jim McCann reveals the real-world theatrical activities that underlie his story. And he provides a helpful two-page spread of the character map, "for those playing detective." The only thing I wish it had was labels with all the character's names. I have no trouble recognizing the faces--kudos to artist Rodin Esquejo for clear character designs--but don't always remember the names. And the script rarely re-introduces any of the characters by name.

That is one bonus of the floppies, there is a character page inside the front cover to help you out.

Good to know. I may want to check the bargain bins for the individual issues. I have the Comixology version of Issue 1, and it does include the "Filling in the Gap" column from the back of the issue that gives helpful hints about the mystery(ies).

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