Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragota, Frank Martin
Release Date: 17th September 2014
Well that escalated quickly. And here was little old me thinking that after those astonishingly good, tightly plotted and paced first two arcs, this third arc was maybe a little bit meandering in its execution. How spectacularly wrong was I – it was a bluff, a feint, and Hickman has taken this opportunity to not only spectacularly gutpunch us, but make us puke blood too. In the good way, obviously.
What makes this so damn special? It’s the mesmerising, cyclical and ironic nature of the way Hickman and Dragota are synergising here – they just seem to get exactly what the other is doing, and what they’re capable of. The planning that must’ve gone into this issue alone is utterly mind boggling, let alone the arc as a whole.
And as always, what’s most pleasing about the entire thing is the joyous fusion of genres going on – part hard sci-fi exploring the nature of existence, part epic fantasy, with strange, ethereal creatures and sights abounding, part, of all things, Western, and finally, part Biblical end-game made flesh. Quite how that last part thickens is what really makes this book one of the best of the year, but to say how is to spoil, so my face is keeping schtum.
Dragota and Martin’s art is glorious, there’s no other word to describe it. No wait, I have a few. Gorgeous, dynamic, action-packed, detailed, expressive, subversive, occasionally grotesque – but above all, every single panel is satisfying, immersing you in Hickman’s incredible story. Glorious just about covers it, right?
Literally the only critcism that comes to mind is that as a stand alone issue, this is not your jumping on point. But as a culmination of not only the previous four, but the previous fourteen issues, this is an astonishing piece of work.
Buy this book. Unless you’ve not read it before. In which case, buy issue #1 and start from there. If you don’t, you’re missing out not just on one of the finest sci-fi stories written in a long while, but one of the finest stories full-stop.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24