Let’s begin with the composition of the cover. From a distance it looks like a woman’s face, probably Meru’s. The first thing you’ll notice is the dragons and fire acting as her hair, but that will take you deeper into the face where you’ll notice a tree for the nose. At the bottom of that tree is man bleeding which runs down creating the lips. You think we’re done, but if you look at the eyes you’ll now notice that they’re the heads of two people. This cover is amazing and plays into the fact that the story is all about the mind and its unlocked power. I’ve see a lot of amazing comic covers, but this one is definitely a contender for best ever. Meru is in China tracking Henry Lyme; well actually as Henry tells us with the narration she’s being led by him to the next clue. Meru and the FBI agent find the dolphins that Lyme left donated and they spell out the next clue for them: Guangzhou. Literary the dolphins spell out the clue on a special device for them. They grab a boat and a guide and head down the river; for the first time the FBI agent reflects upon how he got there and the fact that he lost his partner. They come across another boat and for some reason the driver of their boat feels compelled to help them. Knowing that it’s a trap our FBI agent tells Meru to jump overboard and to continue on without him. Sure enough, the Immortals spring up and kill the drivers of both boats. Now Meru is up against an even bigger race against the clock and for the first time is concerned that her FBI agent friend won’t make it.
It’s stupefying how good this issue is. It answers a lot of questions and yet opens the doors to so many more. There are inconsistencies with the art that cannot be called inconsistencies because they are so obvious that they become clues to something not yet revealed. I have a strong suspicion that body swapping went down and if so that’s fucking amazing. The pacing for this story is deliberately fast as it continues the intensity with each scene building the tension until the final page. There is so much going on in this issue that it's really incredible; both with the story and the dialog.
The art is some of the finest in comics today. It appears to be quite simple, even overly simplistic, but the composition of each panel is as carefully thought out as the cover. Looking through it again I can find so many scenes of beauty and intensity that it’s just crazy. It makes me wonder how a comic book can be this good when it only has one creator. The style and technique are an inspiration to any creator/artist out there looking to make their own book.
I seriously got chills when I looked at the cover of this issue and it only got better inside. The side stories are still a fantastic read that add to the depth of the story and I could honestly read an entire issue of just those stories. Perhaps they’ll make a one-shot issue collecting them so readers can see just how much of the world they already know about. I don’t know if there are any better books shipping this week because this one stole my heart instantly. If you’re not reading this book you need to be, it will be talked about for years to come and is sure to win all kinds of awards at the end of the year. Personally, I just want a poster of the cover to stare at all day for inspiration and beauty.
Score: 5/5 (I would break the scale and give it a 10/5, but that would be two weeks in a row.)
Writer/Artist/Creator: Matt Kindt Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Originals Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/25/12