Writer: Sam Read
Artist: Caio Oliveira
Colours: Marissa Louise
Cover: Ramon Villalobos
Lettering/Production: Colin Bell
Release Date: 15th November 2014 (Thought Bubble)
After a stunning opening chapter, the previous two issues of Sam Read’s Exit Generation seem to have been serving merely as a build-up to this finale. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some undeniably great moments and some compelling characters introduced along the way, but there’s also been a definite sense that this series is all relying on this one, inevitable, titanic showdown. Well, with all the different plot threads having finally converged, and all of the pieces having been nudged gently into place, now – as the escaped prisoners and their rescuers find themselves staring down an alien horde – the time has come to see if the journey was worth the destination.
And all I can say is… wow.
Rather than slowing things down with any more twists, turns or plot details, Read instead makes the bold decision to hand the ball to artist Caio Oliveira for the frenzied sprint to the finish. And boy does Oliveira deliver, knocking it out of the park alongside the typically vibrant colour work of Marissa Louise with an issue filled with frantic action and stunning set-pieces. Bodies fly in all directions, panels are crammed to capacity – and beyond – with explosions and bullets, making this easily the most visually impressive issue of the entire series by a significant margin.
For his part, Read keeps things simple here dialogue-wise, firing off some sharp one-liners from the rescuers and throwing in a few terrific ‘action movie’ beats along the way. There’s something undeniably cinematic about the way this final issue (and indeed the whole series) has been structured, and Read is clearly having a blast here as he throws in tension, drama and air-punching moments of redemption at an almost dizzying pace.
I’ve mentioned previously that lettering is only typically something you notice when it’s done poorly. Well, Colin Bell completely and utterly disproves that theory in this issue, throwing in some dazzling visual flourishes of his own with the dialogue and sound effects, including one panel of particularly jaw-dropping onomatopoeia where the ‘good guys’ make their last stand.
With Caio overcoming my previous criticism regarding his level of detail (in emphatic fashion, no less), the only real niggle I have left with this series is regarding the main characters themselves. The first issue did a great job of establishing Mo and Jack, but the subsequent three haven’t really done much to develop either of them. Granted, Read does a decent job in the epilogue of trying to remedy that, giving us a deeper insight into Jack’s mindset, but I can’t help but think that it’s just a case of too little, too late. The premise is fantastic, the supporting characters are varied and compelling, but the main protagonists just left me feeling a little cold, I’m sad to say.
Overall though, Exit Generation is a cracking slice of action packed sci-fi, and a series which thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously. Featuring a creative premise and some truly memorable moments and characters, I fully recommend picking up the whole series as soon as possible, either at next weekend’s Thought Bubble or – if you’re unable to attend – from the Read French Comics Online Store.
If you’re at Thought Bubble this year, you can grab yourself a copy of Exit Generation #4 (as well as previous issues in the series and other titles from RF Comics catalogue) from Sam at Table 99 in the New Dock Hall. Check out the RF Comics FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE for more details.
If you’re interested, you can also check out our reviews of the previous issues in this series;