I love that cover. It’s sadly the thing that I enjoyed the most about this chapter. It’s not that this issue is bad, but it’s starting to wrap up and so the charm of the series is really missing in this issue. In fact we don’t spend nearly the same amount of time with our main character as we have in previous issues. In the end it’s a book where the characters spend most of their time spouting off exposition and very little else. Also there will be some spoilers ahead, but if you’ve been reading the series… you know all this already before even picking up this issue. Big surprise, it’s the servants kid. I know right, I mean it’s not like we haven’t had access to Enrique’s thoughts, seen his father the butler yell at him or pieced it together by the sheer fact that he doesn’t look like the rest of the Shainline family. That’s not how this issue starts though! It starts with of course the reveal of how “Tyler” got out of his situation in the last issue. He starts by telling Joon that the woman who claims to have saved her grandmother and gotten her into the school isn’t old enough to have saved her grandmother. Joon thinks on it while “Tyler” places his winning piece down on the board and then goes into how he beat Darryl by placing a fake the night before and exploiting yet another technicality in the system. He eases Daryl off the ledge by appealing to his reporter nature and pointing out that the other contestants were all poisoned and that really he was “had” before they began. Ultimately, “Tyler” ends up the festival King and receives a kiss on the cheek from Jade. Slow down kids, that’s how babies are made!
From there we receive the back story between the Nurse and the Principal and the Principal’s reason for being at the school. After that is the reveal of “Tyler” being a fake and why he’s really there and the set up for the final issue in which “Tyler” offers to help Nat the Gat graduate. Which also doesn’t make any sense since Nat is the best student, but for some reason needs “Tyler” to help him not suck… how bad do the rest of the gun club students suck?
The thing about this issue is that there are too many reveals. Obviously they couldn’t be in the next issue because we need resolution, but they didn’t all need to be in this issue either. Fake Tyler’s story could have been sprinkled throughout the previous issues in the same way presented here and it could have been dramatic. Or the entire thing could have been done in the previous issue so that the other two reveals were more interesting in this issue. There are a lot of ways it could have been cut and changed, but it still boils down to the reveal overload. I look at it like going through a haunted house, if you’re scared by one person after the other, you become accustom to it and it stops being scary. The brain needs time to reset and it doesn’t have any time to do that with this issue. The dialog was pretty basic in this issue which was strange. It was as if none of the characters were trying to be themselves. While it was annoying at times dealing with the fact that all of the characters were trying to be over the top the entire time, now none of them were which was a huge change. The balance of dialog and the pacing of the story just didn’t find the right path in this issue.
The art is the same, but how about that cover! It’s a bit different from the other covers, but I really like it. It’s one of the more creative creations to release this year. I only noticed one real inconsistency with the art and that was when Joon took off her eye patch to reveal her red-eye; the spacing was all out of whack, which seemed strange considering the next panel is a close up on another character’s eyes.
Sadly, this series has been pretty basic. I’m glad to see Robinson venturing into new territories and I still really like the concept, but it’s missing that special something to take it to the next level. Yes the next issue “How will Tyler survive” reveals are clever, but because we as the audience don’t have enough clues to guess it for ourselves it’s not as much fun. With one more issue left, I’ll be back to finish this puppy off, but if you’ve yet to start it then you might want to wait until it’s finished at this point. If you’re more into the concept than anything else then you’ll find some enjoyment, but it’s not going to blow your mind.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Jimmie Robinson Publisher: Shadowline and Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/29/13