Volume one was no fluke and vol. 2 of “Hillbilly” brings more of the same “Backwoods Appalachian ‘Conan’” charm to its table. This time wanderer Rondel and his Devil Cleaver mix it up with an actual legendary creature, the Tailypo, in a cautionary tale about the dangers of eating tail meat. There are also stories about the origin of Rondel’s friendship with talking bear Lucille, a 3-D dream involving the wolf who will eat the world, Rondel mixing it up with a hog-man named Hogslopp, and a story that starts with our protagonist agreeing to deliver some skins and ends with some rich farmers working for a man with a dead opossum on his head. As that last story should tell you, even if these stories appear familiar at the outset, they’ll usually wind up taking you to some strange and unexpected places either along the way or by their end.
All of the stories here are worth reading while creator Eric Powell’s art delivers the creepily rustic feel and impressive detail that I’ve come to expect from him. The other artistic contributions from Steve Mannion and Simone Di Meo are similarly impressive as well. That said, Di Meo’s story is colored by Warren Montgomery who gives the story a livelier look to it. While Powell’s art itself is great, it also has a drab sepia-toned look to it that doesn’t really add anything to the story. As I’m nitpicking here, though the individual stories are entertaining, it’s unclear at this point if the creator is working towards telling a larger one with this series. Are the hints with the stories about the wolf and James Stoneturner hints of something to come, or simply their own tales? Even if the latter turns out to be true, I’ll keep buying this series as long as the individual stories continue to be as good as the ones in this volume.