I’m a bit put off by this issue; it’s not that it wasn’t good, but it feels like a fill-in issue. There’s a guest artist and the focus of the plot is entirely with another character; add in the fact that the odd humor that Humphries has established in the series is completely devoid and this book feels very different from the first four entirely. We open with Beatrice who looks a lot like someone else we know. She narrates about living on an island and how they fight against the outside world. It's basically a religious cult that has brainwashed its followers over the generations to believe that there is no other way of life except for on the island. As Beatrice grows older she becomes curious about the men that are always disappearing down in the mines and never to return. She follows one night and finds a glowing “eye” shaped apparition that she walks through. It takes her to another world which she does not fully understand and runs away from. When she crosses back through the leader of the “family” is standing there. Instead of being punished she’s given the special mission of continuing to go through the “eye” and get things that the “family” needs.
It was an interesting story for sure, but I’m not really sure how it fits into everything. Beatrice is the creator of the Higher Earth system, but there is now so much left to explain because of this story. Really the book is becoming more of a walk through on how the concept could actually work. I don’t know if this reveal was the right time for the series and really opens it up for further explanation when the last issue had placed the series in a good spot. We knew what the characters were up against and what they were going to do next; and we didn’t need to know any more of the behind the scenes sub-plot to keep the interest (at least for the moment).
The narration was actually very good and even though Beatrice comes off as sheltered there is always something a bit evil about her character. There are a good handful of metaphors to this issue, but really the entire series is missing out on a great opportunity to make social commentary. The only real problem with the issue is that it doesn’t leave off in a well thought out place. Obviously the art is going to change in the next issue, but what character are we going to be following? What time line even? I guess we’ll have to see.
As I mentioned there is a guest artist on this issue by the name of Joe Eisma. If you’re familiar with his work on Morning Glories then you’ll definitely like his work on this book. He’s actually a great match for the series and his line work is very clean. It’s too bad it’s just for one issue and that the story didn’t really play to his strengths. There are a lot of bland shots of the island and the mine. Eisma makes some pretty pictures, but really shines one the last few pages.
There’s no doubt that this is a good issue, but it doesn’t compare to the last issue and doesn’t feel like the right time for the amount of information that’s revealed. If this story had hit on issue seven it could easily have kicked off another story arc, but instead feels like a one shot story that was added so that the art team could get ahead on the book. Hopefully they do just that and get ahead so that way the next time Eisma jumps on the book it’s a bit more thrilling.
Writer: Sam Humphries Artist: Joe Eisma Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/26/12