Well we hit the wall with this issue. The wall being, “Can this series maintain our interest with all the elements at its disposal?” The answer is sadly, “not really.” I guess I don’t know my history very well or the historical importance of locations because we’re introduced to a new location and a new family and I was left wondering ultimately what their role in the story would be. We don’t really learn anything about them, not in the way we learn about Seth and Mercy making it really hard to care about their story. The only element worth wondering about is if the father is going to survive falling into ice cold water during the winter. To which the issue never really presents much danger or despair for the character so I guess it’s a yes?
The rest of the issue is spent showing how shitty Mercy’s life is. Here she is this new bride doing a ton of work day in and day out because that’s how she was raised and with Seth gone she doesn’t have anything else. We learn that he had to back track and spend months in hiding after the events of the last issue and once he arrives home he finds the leaders of the Green Mountain Squad there to recruit him once more. I’ll be honest, I don’t see Seth’s importance at this point in the story. Everyone seems adamant about him being a part of the war, but he hasn’t really done anything to earn that in the reader’s eyes. That and it just straight up makes him look like a shitty husband, which hey that’s common throughout history right? I’m just not sure why there’s so much focus on it if it is the norm and it isn’t a driving force of the story.
That is basically that happens. We meet this other family, the father could die and Seth goes back out to war. Mercy is revealed as being pregnant and I wouldn’t exactly call that a spoiler or a cliffhanger because pregnancies in comic books are about as surprising as TV show pregnancies. Meaning no one actually cares because we don’t want to deal with a baby in the story.
The art continues to be solid, well-polished and stylized just right for the era and storytelling. It’s just that nothing happens in this issue other than walking and talking so it’s hard to find some new praise for the art other than not letting it get too boring. The covers are a strange fit. I love Tula Lotay’s artwork, but knowing the story and the interior art, her cover just doesn’t get me excited because the style is very different.
I hit that wall with this issue. I don’t have any interesting in going forward with this series because it’s now shown me what it can be when it’s not presenting big action or historical moments and it’s pretty dull. From the beginning this series has had to fight to keep my attention because of the genre it’s in and while the first two issues managed to bring me back, this third missed the mark in keeping me. That and we kind of already know how it turns out. If I was invested in Seth and Mercy’s relationship more I might want to see how it turns out in the end, but given what we learn in this issue… I don’t really care.
UPDATE: As a reader on Twitter pointed out, the other family is Seth's as a boy. Knowing this actually makes me dislike the issue more because we already know enough about his past and it did absolutely nothing to add to his character or to build towards the overall plot. I won't change my score, but if I did... it would be lower because at least when I was confused by the "other family" I thought it was going somewhere. Instead it's just revealing the past of a character at the strangest moment possible in the story and really makes the issue come across as filler more than anything.