The Tension Rises
Picking up right where the first issue ended, Strange Skies Over East Berlin #2 sees Herring meeting Russian Inspektor Keiner and imagining being revealed as a spy leading to his imprisonment by the Soviets. Herring wonders if the man spotted him the other night or was too distracted by what flew over the Wall to even pay attention.
The Inspektor asks him what he thinks about the man Herring just interrogated as well as who in Berlin sent him here. Anzhela insists that she’s still in charge and that the two are only there to catch any spies and rats. Even as the head doctor, Sattler, wonders what it is the bunker is hiding and how people are affected Anzhela reminds him to not ask too many questions.
As Herring goes to clean himself up, he starts to become paranoid as the spy worries that they know about his secret and once again sees the same ghostly woman as earlier. At the same time, the same electric effect that appeared over the interrogated soldier starts to appear near Anzhela and Sattler, making them see hallucinations for a brief moment.
Down the Bunker
When one of the guards to the locked doors starts to go mad and demand to open them, Anzhela shoots him without hesitation and threatens the other one for not responding quicker. Right after, other soldiers and scientists begin to exhibit the same madness and demand to open the doors. As Anzhela threatens to shoot anyone that gets closer, one soldier kills himself.
Herring wants to get word to his superiors about what is going on but is too distracted by the ghostly woman. Sattler, himself, starts to succumb to the madness and when he goes down deeper into the bunker, he is then killed by the same electricity as before emitted by the alien being that’s been kept there. The alien is large, blue, has a very skinny and, albeit twisted, skeletal appearance with electricity emitting from all over its body. Strange Skies #2 ends with a double cliffhanger as Keiner confronts Herring with his gun on hand and Anzhela and other soldiers aiming their weapons at the alien.
Ramping Up What Came Before
This second issue takes what was introduced in the first and ramps it up with high tension and a large sense of dread and paranoia. The writing by Jeff Loveness and artwork by Lisandro Estherrem both capture the terrifying nature of how the unknown can affect so many people.
While we now know that it was an alien that crashed outside of East Berlin, what exactly its motivations are and whether or not it’s actually behind the people in the bunker going mad and the hallucinations many see are never answered, thus building up the tension. The narration keeps you in your toes as you see through them Herring’s rising paranoia as well as how broken he’s become by this job. Estherrem’s design for the alien has a lot of originality to it, with it’s long head being the best part due to how unnerving it is to look at.
The Slight Flaw
One flaw may be how some panels in the same page have backgrounds with different coloring behind them. Though it may be symbolic of how certain characters are more composed or paranoid than others.
The second issue of Strange Skies Over East Berlin is not just a great followup but may be one of the best issues Boom! has ever done.
You can pick up a copy of Strange Skies Over East Berlin #2 at Boom! Studios, Comixology, and your local comic book store.