Well, it looks like I went and read the next volume of Brian Ralph's Daybreak, despite having mixed (though positive) feelings after reading the first book. And, because that first book was a Hidden Gem, I think it's OK to just call this one a standard follow-up review.
Also, being that Daybreak started as a web-comic from Bodega Distribution, you can still read an excerpt from this second volume with cab be found at Bodega's blog.
Episode Two, as one would hope after the way the first book ends, continues right after where you left off: alone with your one-armed, helpful companion, and a tag-along dog, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world with mysterious beings following you.
Unlike the first book, there's not really any new characters introduced, except for one... who basically is only there for one page before the book ends. But like the first book, there isn't any real explanation of what it going on yet, which is kind of annoying. All I'm saying is that a character name isn't really asking for much, let alone some back story.
As said before with the first volume, the writing isn't really a key part of what attracted me to this series. And quite frankly, it's not even a prominent part of the book, despite the inclusion of its neat first person perspective. The writing will get you through the book, but it isn't really anything that will blow you away.
Sticking to the same two-tone, brown on white, six panels per page design of the first book, there really isn't much to say about the artwork in Daybreak Episode Two. But that, unlike the writing, isn't exactly a bad thing, as it works really well for the book and makes it standout from anything else you'll find on the bookshelves at your local comic shop.
Of course, there is some mild upgrades from the previous book, like busier panels (which may or may not be better depending on the reader), more dynamic artwork angles and such; just don't expect it to be night and day from the last one.
Daybreak, Episode Two definitely has the same feel as the first book, especially when it comes to the writing and great artwork. However it also retains the mysterious/cheap left in the dark feeling of not exactly knowing who it is you are with and not knowing what's going on. And to further the feeling, the peak action part of the entire book, is cut short as the book ends, a.k.a. the book is saying, "Oh, you spent $10 on this book? Well, now you have to pay another $10 for what looks to be some answers." At least the first book's cut-off was in the middle of an engaging scene.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
If you can't find Daybreak at your local comic shop, Amazon.com thankfully carries the first two books, but it doesn't look like they carry the third yet.
For more on Brian Ralph, visit his website, BRalph.com