After several years and several attempts by several illustrators, there is finally a sequel to the very popular and one of the best-executed series in recent time. The wait has been worth it.
After the events in the original story, sixty-six year old Celestino Cabal is confused and demanding answers for the upheavals in his life: how and why does he suddenly have powers, and who suddenly ruined his simple life with his wife Aura?
The answers start coming here: a man has appeared in Manila, having the ability of mind control over street children. He may also have similar powers of strength and speed as Celestino. Mang Tino has to know why, as well as stop this man quickly, before his daughter Ella arrives from abroad, becoming another risk.
Sixty Six 2 (script Russel Molina, art Mikey Marchan) [Anino Comics, 2020].
Mikey Marchan’s experience is more with realist stories. His first release under Anino was the originally self-published Sandali, with Mikey Jimenez, all slice-of-life short stories. But instead of detracting from the superhero story, that fact of realist experience actually enhances it. Because the story is made more down-to-earth, instead of super-powered, the reality of the supernatural events is amplified, and makes this even more believable through the action.
Some readers may be saddened over the loss of the clean high detail from Ian Sta. Maria’s art style, but give this one a chance anyway. The amount of presented is more than sufficient for the needs of the story.
The story itself by Russel Molina is delivered with an incredible economy, a tight control over the narrative that never needs to explain itself with many words or dialogue. Each panel gives a lot of detail and information. The dialogue is kept to the absolute minimum needed to move the story, focusing your attention on all the action and the emotional changes in Mang Tino.
The action moves organically, starting slow then speeding up for the important face-off with the antagonist. The pacing also starts and ends very cleanly: the whole story ends the way it enters, even repeating the pattern of the panels to incredible effect, concluding with an important postscript.
The characterization of Mang Tino through the fast-paced story is solid, showing his determination through his anguish and confusion. It is contrasted very well with the antagonist, presented as arrogant and over-confident in using his powers. Other loved characters such as Mang Donato the PWD tanod and househelp Soling, also return and have good airtime within the story.
If there is any misgiving, it is only that some important background information is delivered through the added letters, Mang Tino’s letters from abroad to his wife Aura, while he was working as an OFW. The most crucial information is provided through the comic story, but necessary additions are given through the letters. It is important to read through them to get a rounded feel of all the action being given through the panels.
There will be more to this story, this is promised by its conclusion. It is hard to tell when the next installment will be, the way it is with all of komiks for now. But keep following this story, tell the creators and publisher that it is worth continuing. People will be eagerly anticipating what is next for Mang Tino and his family.
(Images from Anino Comics)