This was kind of a strange issue. It wasn’t as dynamic as the previous issues and Harris presents a strange path for the series to follow. I’m not too worried though because it reminds me a lot of the middle section of the previous story arc in which I felt the same. I remember reading it and thinking, “I do not like where this is going” and yet everything turned out fine in the end. Actually better than fine which is why I’m not too worried when those same feelings came up in this issue, but let’s see what made me feel that way this time around. The issue kicks off with Chase and Alex viewing the tape that was left with them previously. It shows torture being done to the citizens of West Rhodesia who is their last hope at getting into the UN. After watching the chilling events they prepare for the arrival of the West Rhodesia’s President’s right hand man. They meet him on the airfield and it’s a less than awesome start for both sides it seems. Chase’s entire Cabinet is opposed to the alliance with West Rhodesia and even less thrilled to be playing host to them. They make their voices heard and Alex eventually walks out not wanting to be in the same room any more.
From there the story jumps over to the workers using the HERO devices. We find our stranded French criminal Zoe working with the grunts, but she notices that one of the guards heads to a lower level of the… trash island, instead of guarding. He greets a woman standing around and they negotiate the price for some sexual business, but the woman slips strange glove on her hand and does something to the floor. It sends out a signal to the deadly fucking fish that were introduced in this arc, which isn’t good. As things are about to get… interesting between the unobservant guard and the terrorist/pretendatute, Zoe arrives and interrupts things.
To be honest I had to read this issue twice because the first time my focus was more on the political aspects of it. That’s the part of the story that concerns me because there is a huge focus on New Texas becoming a legitimate nation and it overpowers the other parts of this story. Even the final meeting between Chase and Mr. Okonkwo is shadowed by Chase’s ambition. It’s not that it’s bad, but it becomes draining as the reader is asked to worry and deal with the same things that Chase and company are dealing with and even he appears drained. The aspects with the Terrorist were also strange because there’s no info for us. We don’t know what the device she’s using is or how someone already knew to create it. It’s not a bad issue, but the caution flag does come up because there are so many unanswered questions. Hopefully the story will answer some of them in the next issue.
The art is magnificent. The expression and detest from all of the Cabinet members is terrific. You can’t help but feel their apathy or disgust towards the situation. It’s like having to do something really shitty at work that isn’t even your responsibility, but because the boss asked, you have to do it. It’s that feeling and their body language and facial expressions capture that perfectly. Okonkwo was an interesting character. There’s a danger to him, but also a sense of wisdom. I didn’t exactly hate him, but I didn’t like him that’s for sure. It’s a testament to his character though that I felt anything towards him.
I’m not actually worried about this series, but the pacing of this issue slowed down a lot compared to the other two issues in the arc. I still have good feelings about where the story is going and as long as Harris answers some questions presented in this issue then we’ll be good. Don’t lead me on for too long though. If you’re having doubts about the series I would ask that you hold on until the end of the arc. This world is getting big and I can only see bigger and better storylines coming from that.
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 8/14/13