This issue picks up the pace a bit as we have finally worked through the exposition phase of the story. The big event of issue 4 was the creation of a cold fusion device from an extra-dimensional being using a Psiot brain. The story was a bit more interesting than that but that’s the bottom line that you need to know going into issue 5. We find ourselves onboard the Leviathan, a super science submarine and the home of the cold fusion reactor. Toyo Harada the… protagonist? The factions are kind of hard to determine. Ostensibly Toyo Harada is our protagonist because in issue 1 we are living in a post-utopian world created by Harada. In the story proper though he has been nothing but a huge, boastful dick. Much like my own dick when it has too much to drink. That’s normal right? A drinking dick? Right? Anyway Harada wants what the Rising Spirit have, which is the cold fusion reactor. The Rising Spirit are also dicks so really this is a dick fight. Pure and simple. A good old fashioned dick fight, like the kind that take place after gym class. This whole thing is getting weird so I’m going to move on as fast as possible.
Harada infiltrates it in a way that makes me think he is working with more than just Gravedog. Gravedog, you’ll remember, tried to switch sides but ended up being tortured by Harada and delivered right back into the hands of his former captors: Rising Spirit. In issue 4 the extra dimensional being that built the reactor sees through this and allows not only Harada to see the reactor through Gravedog’s eyes but, as it turns out, it faked a clean bill of health for Gravedog so a virus hidden in Gravedog’s brain could take over Leviathan. My feeling is this extra dimensional being needs something from Harada and is subtly orchestrating this invasion. If that sounded confusing that’s because this plot is dense! It’s thicker than a Sir Mix-a-lot video or a Wendy’s Frosty. Got more meat then one of those freak muscle cows. There is more shit going on here than in a Taco Bell bathroom. This stuff is deep!
In fact if I were in the business to give a criticism, wait, I am, it would be that this book is almost too dense. It’s rewarding, I will give it that. If you have been with it since issue one, keeping notes on everything that’s going on and re-reading old issues, as I have, then all that time and effort will be rewarding. You will understand the things that are going on at a much higher lever. The other edge of that double-edged sword is where can people jump on? This issue is the first of a new arc but damned if you can jump on here and understand anything that’s going on. It’s written in a way that it might draw you to buy back issues but picking up on context cues will leave you scratching your head. My other gripe with the book is that there aren’t a whole lot of likeable characters. Interesting characters, deep, fully formed, 3 dimensional characters as well, but not many that I would label ‘likeable’. Sunlight on Snow (or Mech Major, the character feels so real that I don’t want to call him by his slave name) is the closest thing we have to a decent person and he’s a robot! Beyond that a few issues ago we realize that everyone pretty much hates him, fears him and treats him like shit which really makes me feel bad for poor Sunlight on Snow. But as far as non-horrible people who you can feel good about rooting for it’s pretty much him.
The book remains very compelling with a story that is pretty well-paced. The cast is quite large but they do a pretty good job keeping the characters unique in both writing and art so that you don’t get lost. Nobody looks alike and nobody really sounds alike so you have the good separation that is required in a large story like this. I’m still fully invested and ready for next month. If you are just starting to get interested in it now then I really suggest tracking it down from issue one and getting caught up before it gets too much of a head start.