Review – Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #6 (of 6) (Dark Horse)

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Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Jim Calafiore
Release Date: 28th September, 2016

After a fairly painful delay (has it been three months already?), the final issue of Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore’s Surviving Megalopolis is finally here, and as could probably have been predicted, the creators crank up the drama, the violence and – yes – the kill count here as Southern Belle and Fleet track down our plucky heroes alongside Simon Valiant’s cadre of “super villains”.

While the pacing of the series to this point has occasionally been a little sedate, Simone and Calafiore deliver an impressively frantic sprint finish here, packing the pages with brutal action sequences, intriguing character-based developments and the bloody demise of a handful of key characters.

One thing I did want to mention was the fact that yes, we all know Gail Simone is a truly fantastic writer, but one thing she doesn’t get enough credit for is her absolutely inspired use of profanity.  Seriously, whether it’s a perfectly-timed humorous beat or to add a sense of urgency to a rapidly deteriorating situation, Simone’s swearing is absolutely on point here, and it helps provide Surviving Megalopolis with the delicious dark comic centre around which all the twisty-turny character-based stuff is lovingly wrapped.

Visually, Calafiore cranks out what is unquestionably his best work of the entire series here, cramming the panels with bold, chunky characters and almost ridiculously violent action sequences. Subtle and cerebral this finale most certainly isn’t, but both Calafiore and Simone seem to relish in that fact, forcing our heroes (as opposed to our crazy former heroes) to employ every trick in their arsenal just to stand a chance of surviving.  Jason Wright’s colours are also vibrant and striking throughout, particularly – as you may have expected by now – the reds, which really add some punch to the proceedings once the blood starts spraying.

That said, the one major criticism I had about this issue is that the fact that it didn’t really feel like an actual ending.  Sure, several of the plot threads were tied up relatively neatly, but given the way the issue drew to a close, I actually found myself double-checking to see if there was going to be another issue – or at least another page or two.  No such luck, sadly, which leaves us with a fairly ambiguous conclusion and a hell of a lot of balls left up in the air as the long, painful wait for a third series (please?) begins.

That niggle aside, there’s no denying the fact that Surviving Megalopolis has been an absolute joy to read, and remains one of my definite highlights of 2016 so far. Comic books taking swipes at some of the all-too-familiar superhero tropes aren’t necessarily all that new or inventive these days, but few manage it with such irreverent flair and in-your-face bravado as Surviving Megalopolis.  I’m definitely going to be keeping everything crossed that we get another series of this wonderfully twisted tale somewhere down the line.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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