Review: Pryor Gets A New Lease On Life In ‘Knock ‘Em Dead’ #2

‘Pryor Brice died…but only for a couple of seconds.

The thing is, he didn’t come back alone. The spirit of Danny Baron, Pryor’s more successful comedian friend, was brought back with him. Trapped inside Pryor’s body, the ghost of Danny offers Pryor a supernatural deal: He’ll write Pryor’s material so Danny can still be successful, even after death.

Their bargain comes with supernatural strings attached and, soon, Pryor will discover that comedy is no laughing matter.’

In the first chapter of Knock ‘Em Dead, we met Pryor Brice, an amateur comedian who genuinely had some decent material, but no clue how to tie things together into a working set. This is, obviously, way harder than it sounds. It can be really helpful to have someone in your corner, a seasoned mentor who helps dig through the piles of shit that are early sets to find the diamonds.

Pryor’s about to get that in Knock ‘Em Dead #2, but not nearly in the way he hoped or expected. 

That salty old comedian Pryor was riding with when they crashed? Yeah, he died. Instead of heading into the light, however, Danny decided to stick around, relying on Pryor to be his vessel so that he can continue ‘living,’ and knocking them dead at the comedy club.

Eliot Rahal’s experience on the stage really comes through in Pryor’s struggle. The pressures of show business are enough on their own to drive anyone to their breaking point. Add in the dark family history, PTSD, and the paranormal horror twist, and this kid is a powder keg.

Mattia Monaco and Matt Milla continue to deliver a dark, gritty aesthetic that is just as depressing in the dimly lit halls of the ICU as the smoke hazed grime of the local comedy dive.

One of the things I really love about this installment is, if you notice, Taylor Esposito is using the same glyphs for Pryor’s punchlines that they used in the first chapter. That’s important, because he’s telling the same jokes. The difference here is going to be the timing, the beats, the mapping. All that stuff that a seasoned vet can do with a bright young talent’s ideas to make them into headliner material. 

There are a couple different ways this can shake out in the coming chapters, and none of the possibilities will be particularly pleasant for Pryor, Ronnie, or the other comics. It’s still early, but Knock ‘Em Dead is starting to look like Eliot Rahal’s finest work.

Knock ‘Em Dead #2, AfterShock Comics, 06 January 2021. Written by Eliot Rahal, art by Mattia Monaco, color by Matt Milia, letters by Taylor Esposito.

‘Pryor Brice died…but only for a couple of seconds. The thing is, he didn’t come back alone. The spirit ofCOMICONRead More

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