I love where this story is going. After announcing his candidacy for the Antichrist, Bram is continuing to see how he can further his influence and earn the position while Ben is even more panicky than usual after his roommate's announcement. Writers Asmus and Festante are clearly having a lot of fun with the continuing influence of the Rapture. These little nods to how society would handle it were my favorite part of Issue #1, and these are back and just as good in Issue #2. The first panel of this issue made me laugh several times as it collects news stories of The End Times' world, and the issue later follows up with more news and social media of the world. These headlines, tweets, and other little references made me so happy as they're clever, meaningful, and contain little touches of the same offbeat humor as the rest of the series.
I'm torn on the art this time around. This issue continues the trend of grandiose visuals that manage to be both funny and inspiring, and this time around there's a fair bit of action, which likewise looks incredible and manages to still be fun and relevant to the story; however, the way the casual scenes between the characters were drawn struck me as sloppy and overly cartoony. Given The End Times is a rather silly book at times, this isn't wholly out of place, but some character expressions and the way they are portrayed felt too far given the book's propensity for strong religious and political commentary.
Speaking of, this time around there's a lot of political humor going around, poking fun at the “two party system” of Heaven and Hell. There are no direct attacks on the U.S.' Republican or Democratic parties, but damn if they don't push some buttons. I rather suspect The End Times will have touched on all the “taboo” topics of our society before the end, and I can't help but love them for it.
The characters are where the heart of this story lies. Ben's journey is particularly interesting this time around, as it's made a little clearer why he wants to repent, and there are roadblocks and temptations along the way that try to get him to switch sides and fully join Bram. Bram even shows himself to not be fully corrupted as his own doubts about becoming the Antichrist come through. These moments of weakness for both of the characters made them feel more real, and those few moments made me care about them. By our nature, humans are not wholly good or wholly evil but somewhere in the middle, and here we have two people trying to force themselves to those extremes and it's not as easy as it first seemed.
The End Times of Bram and Ben is one of my favorite comics to come out of Image recently (and there are a lot of good titles these days) and is well worth checking out for its humor, strong characters, and religious and political commentary.