By Cat Wyatt
Issue #3 or Portal Bound is titled Riley Questionable Judgment, and based on what little we know of each of the characters this seems like a very fitting title. The last we saw of our cast they were being attacked by a mercenary and his hounds, only to reveal that he was the alternate for Brett. Talk about a coincidence, right?
The good news is that it looks like Elias was able to stop his best friend and the mercenary from becoming one…that sounded weird to say. There’s got to be a better way to describe the bonding that happens there. Anyway, Elias, Brett, Sybil, and Riley all flee back to earth to escape the attack. Well, Sybil doesn’t technically flee, more like she got carried. Remember she took quite the beating in the last issue.
With their best fighting unconscious, they can’t very well plan on hopping back over anytime soon. Instead, it’s probably best if they do what they can to make sure they’re in top form…which for Riley means begging Elias to take her out and get some food. In all fairness, the girl hasn’t eaten a thing since Sybil came through the portal the first time.
Granted Riley may stand out just a bit, especially if she keeps her holograms and scanners on. Clearly, she’s going to need to tone that down before being allowed out in public. The weird outfits may get them some funny looks, but higher tech like that would get them the wrong type of attention.
Meanwhile Brett’s alternate, the mercenary is coming to the sickening realization that he’s failed. Taking on an imperial task like that and failing…well let’s just say things could get very bleak for this kid, and he is a kid. Remember that Brett is still in high school, so obviously the mercenary can’t be any older than seventeen.
Riley does okay for the most part, though she can’t resist scanning the food once or twice. Something she probably regretted doing, once she saw the chemical composition of what Elias was trying to feed her. Cue some witty commentary on American food industry. Feel free to enjoy or be offended at your leisure. On the bright side, Riley learned that she absolutely loves ice cream, and no, it doesn’t appear that it was one of the foods she scanned.
Meanwhile back on Havos the king is still determined to get his way. Since his brother is dead his only hope lies in capturing Riley. She’s the only one left that knows how to work the portals, and since his grand plan relies on them he’s clearly going to need her. He doesn’t much care if she gives up the information willingly or not, proof that he’s a true antagonist through and through.
Sybil has finally woken up, and it’s clear she’s feeling frustrated by the latest series of events. She came to earth to find her alternate only to learn that he isn’t what she expected. Clearly she was expecting a soldier and not a school boy. Sybil does have the slight problem of being incapable of acknowledging that there’s other ways of being powerful, and that strength isn’t everything. Eli’s refusal to work and fight with her likely stings, and is further adding to her frustration.
In Sybil’s frustration she lets something really important slip. She wants to use the power she gets from Eli to turn herself into a one woman army…that makes her not all that different from her dad, all things considered. Though she probably wouldn’t appreciate having that pointed out.
Her rant does force Riley to reveal the backstory for what happened with Sybil’s father. Apparently he bonded with his alternate from earth, who happens to be Eli’s father. Since they were polar opposites of each other the king ended up going mad or at least that is what Sybil believes.
We don’t yet know much about the bonding that occurs between alternates. Is Eli’s dad bonded willingly, or has the king fully taken over? Can they split the pair up, or must they be willing? So many questions, hopefully we’ll get answers soon.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, there’s more. When an alternate dies in one realm, the other one dies as well. So when Eli learned that his uncle just passed away, Sybil knew her uncle had been killed instead of merely taken captured. It seems that Riley took this worse, but then again Sybil clearly processes emotions differently, so it’s hard to tell. What we do know is that there’s more at risk than we realized. A war in one realm would be catastrophic in the other. Not to mention that Sybil’s death would directly result in Eli dying as well, and vice versa.
As a reminder, that also means that if the mercenary dies then so will Brett. That is a horrible realization, considering what has been happening to the poor kid. The king has already put a bounty out on him, and it’s unlikely he’ll be merciful. Likely he’ll want to make an example out of anybody who fails him…
The issue ends with Sybil being her typical rash self. Honestly her character is more frustrating than interesting. It’s easy to forget how much pain she must be in when she acts like a spoiled brat like that. Hopefully one of the others will manage to get through to her.
There was a lot of buildup in this issue, as well as a lot of backstory and explanation. It was still interesting, but really it feels like they hit the pause button. Tying the alternates together like that was a good choice; it ups the ante on what happens to each set of characters.
Like the last few issues the artwork has been doing a decent job of supporting the story. Admittedly the color palette probably doesn’t match quite as nicely, but it’s so pretty it’s hard to argue that point too strongly.
Portal Bound #3