Nobrow Press has had immense success with the first installment of Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports graphic novel series, a book that introduced a captivating world where magic and athletics merged in a dynamic, beautifully rendered game of mystical basketball. Fantasy Sports 2: The Bandit Of Barbel Bay continues to deliver the imaginative design, bold expression, and clean action of its predecessor, but moves in a more summery direction with its sports: baseball and beach volleyball. This extended preview of Fantasy Sports 2 begins with a flashback to a baseball game from main character Wiz’s childhood, and all of Bosma’s strengths are on display in this opening sequence. He brings outstanding energy to the game while quickly establishing an immersive environment, and his coloring heightens the tension throughout by increasing the contrast as the stakes are raised.
Back in the present, Wiz and her oafish boss, Mug, find themselves stranded in Barbel Bay, a seaside town that was pillaged by the Mage’s Order they work for and left in a state of disrepair. It’s no surprise that Bosma makes strong design choices for this location: the environment is rooted in a Mediterranean aesthetic, while the nonhuman characters have a distinct amphibian influence. But it is a surprise that Bosma adds political commentary to the narrative by questioning the righteousness of the Mage’s Order and their destructive actions. These are new ideas that considerably complicate Wiz and Mug’s mission, and exploring more substantial thematic material adds even more depth to an already rich series.