OVER THE GARDEN WALL vol. 2 by Danielle Burgos, Jim Campbell, Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, Cara McGee, and George Mager
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Volume 2 upholds the creepy atmosphere of the show well. And while it may not yet seem to have the same depths, it's extremely enjoyable for longtime fans of the series.
86 %
A true adventure into The Unknown
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Few series spark the imagination quite like OVER THE GARDEN WALL. The spooky, folklore-esque show delights young and old alike with memorable characters and truly inspired storytelling. The episodes’ seemingly unconnected vignettes miraculously pull themselves together into a beautifully emotional finale. It’s a truly complete project through and through. OVER THE GARDEN WALL vol. 2 may not appear as complete as the cartoon, yet it keeps to the pseudo-horror feeling that long time fans know and love.

Little Parts of A Big Picture

Four stories make up OVER THE GARDEN WALL vol. 2. The first story, “Hunt for Hero Frog: Greg,” was written by Danielle Burgos with art by Jim Campbell. Meanwhile, the second, “Hunt for Hero Frog: Wirt,” was written by Kiernan Sjursen-Lien and illustrated by Cara McGee. OVER THE GARDEN WALL vol. 2’s other two stories, “Pooree The Elephant” and “The Raft” were written and illustrated by George Mager.

The two “Hunt for Hero Frog” stories follow the main story of the last volume, in which Wirt and Greg try to locate the Hero Frog that their own pet frog, Jason Funderburker, attempts to find. The other two stories take place in the School for Animals. The first welcomes a new student in their midst who has trouble fitting in. The other is a riverboat adventure as the possum, raccoon, and deer escape the summer heat.

READ: Here’s another story from the world of OVER THE GARDEN WALL!

The stories involving the school break up the comic, which may be frustrating to some. It doesn’t appear to relate to the main story of finding the Hero Frog. Yet, in my mind, it wouldn’t be OVER THE GARDEN WALL if it didn’t have these stories. After all, part of the charm of the series was its capability to diverge from classic horror tropes and really flesh out a wondrous world. These brief reprieves from the spookier adventure allow the reader a glimpse into the lives of characters they’d otherwise miss out on.

GARDEN WALL vol. 2
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios

Narrative Elements, Good and Bad

I love how the first story shows Wirt and Greg’s different perspectives on the same event. Much like the show, terrifying scenes occur here in the comic. And yet, depending on which character the chapter follows, the scenes can play out entirely differently. It’s almost as if they’re both equally unreliable narrators in their own right. For neither one of them appears to glimpse upon a massive dog in the same way. This shows the reader that neither blind optimism nor pessimism can see the picture clearly. Thus, we as the readers must discern the truth for ourselves in this scenario. It’s a subtle but truly fun way to add some depth to the narrative as a whole.

That being said, the way OVER THE GARDEN WALL vol. 2 breaks off into disconnected vignettes detracts from the complete narrative of the series. Only two of the stories deal with the quest to find the Hero Frog, and they only briefly hint at the larger story ahead. It’s nothing like the previous volumes, which had an interesting side story that followed the Woodsman’s Daughter. That story felt far more in keeping with the creepy tone as opposed to the stories about the school house. The parts that follow the plot are good, but it’s disappointing that they’re so few.

Making the Mood in OVER THE GARDEN WALL vol. 2

The art varies depending on the story. When it follows the boys’ adventures, it’s a style similar to that of the show. However, it doesn’t quite have the same definition as before. It’s a lot more sketchy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The only times I found it frustrating were when the lines of the characters sort of blurred with the lines of the backgrounds, making the entire ensemble sometimes difficult to see.

GARDEN WALL vol. 2
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios

The other two stories have an entirely different look all together. They’re vibrant, as though they occur during a child’s fevered dream. Bright yellows, purples, and reds litter the issues in a fantastical way. It’s clear George Maeger knew what tone he wished to invoke in these sections, and did a wonderful job doing it through the use of color.

READ: Need more comics based off of Cartoon Network shows? Check out our review of OK K.O.! LET’S BE HEROES!

As of right now, it’s difficult to say where the OVER THE GARDEN WALL volumes are heading. The vignettes have yet to connect to one another, yet I have no doubt that they will. The action is still rising. Yet the parts that are here read as enjoyable nonetheless. While not quite as scary as its predecessor, the old-timey Americana that gave the tone of OVER THE GARDEN WALL its unique feel still holds up here.

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