Major spoilers for this series!
Whilst not a huge amount happened in the second issue of Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp this issue really ramps things up, letting readers in on the mystery behind the book, and taking things in new and interesting directions.
Very quickly into this issue readers, and Blake, are let in on some information that changes the last couple of issues, as we learn that the werewolf that chased Blake up into a tree in the last issue is actually Cara, and that she and the other werewolves were only trying to scare Blake and Lilly out of the swamp.
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Cara leads Blake deeper into the swamp, and we learn that there are several werewolves, most of whom are other teens and kids from the town, who come to swamp during the full moon to avoid residents of the town. Not only that, but that Lilly’s family are werewolf hunters who have been trying to track them down for a long while.
This issue not only subverted expectations by having the werewolves being good, decent people, but making the humans the real villains of the story. It’s not clear at this point just how much Lilly knew, and if she has been using Blake, or is perhaps as much a pawn of her family as everyone else, but it definitely makes things more interesting for the next issue and any potential confrontation that these characters might have.
It seems pretty clear that Blake will be siding with the wolves at the end of this issue, but I hope that we get to explore why a little in future issues, and if her being both Black and disabled will play a part of this, perhaps making allusions to how people of colour and disabled people are often othered and treated poorly by white western society. I don’t know if the book will go into these kind of heavy themes, but I really want it to.
As usual with this title the artwork is excellent, and I love how Yasmin Florez Montanez not only makes all of the werewolves look unique, but the effect she gives them when they change between their forms. The panels where Cara was part wolf and part human were great, and you could almost see the fur slowly rolling away, the human features beneath becoming visible once again. It’s great how just last issue these were scary monsters, but now they’re quite cute and cuddly. The sudden shift in how they look and feel, without changing much about the art shows just how good the visuals are on this book.
This issue has gone a long way to making me enjoy the series again after the somewhat lacklustre second issue. It’s got a lot more story in it than I was expecting, and really moved some of the characters forward, introduced new stakes, and set the ground for a potentially explosive fourth issue. I’m eager to see what happens next.
Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp #3 is out on 9th December from IDW Publishing.