Vol. 1 made for a pretty great showcase regarding family matriarch Grace Briggs as she took a hardline stance to asserting control over the title land and detoxing her husband’s influence over it. I was expecting great things from the follow-up, but the problem with vol. 2 is that the focus shifts from Grace to the rest of her family as they deal with new threats to Briggs Land. The biggest of which takes up the first half of the volume when Isaac Briggs comes across some hikers trespassing on their land and through some circumstances of bad timing winds up taking them hostage. While the family is able to keep this quiet, federal and local searches for the missing hikers eventually lead them to Briggs Land, a bit of a media circus, and both sides exchanging fire.
While this is the longest storyline in vol. 2, the business with the hitchhikers still feels like it wasn’t given enough space to fully play out. Writer Brian Wood isn’t able to really dive into the various family members’ feelings regarding this situation and the feds mostly come off as antagonistic bullies. Though there are a handful of really well-done scenes, like the one involving the Briggs Land member who takes some potshots at a helicopter, most of them feel weirdly abbreviated. There’s also a weirdness to the timeframe of the story as we’re told that four weeks have passed between the hikers’ capture and the standoff with the Feds and it never feels that way at all.
This arc is followed up with a one-off about Abbie Briggs, wife of wild child Noah, smuggling one of the Land’s residents out for a potential abortion and to reconnect with some old friends herself. It doesn’t go well and while I get that the story is trying to make some point about how her life on Briggs Land is meant to be an improvement over the one she was living it comes across as something that’s being told and not shown. Things improve for the final arc, a two-parter that has one of Jim Briggs’ old friends making his move to retake the Land. It actually works the best as an ensemble piece among the Briggs family, even if the conflict feels like it wraps up before it can really get going. It’s not a bad volume overall, but future volumes (if there are any -- the series is currently MIA from Dark Horse’s solicitations) would do well to put the spotlight back where it belongs on Grace.