Richard Starkings, story
Axel Medellin, Art
John Roshell, Secret Weapon
Boo Cook, Cover Art
The issues begins. An old man, John, is laying in a hospital bed with his granddaughter next to him. The next panel shows an empty hospital room with Ebeneezer Hide, “Eb” (the elephant hybrid who works in the Information Agency with Hip Flask), sitting in the chair alone. These two panels foreshadow the most interesting parts of this book. The human hybrid connection, the man’s death, compassionately witnessed by the elephant-hybrid is touching and humane. Beyond foreshadowing, the scene is both ironic and paradoxical given the amount of death inflicted on both sides of the human-hybrid conflict. John had formed genuine connections with the hybrids unlike the rest of human society who have protested the inclusions of hybrids in government jobs and other parts of the larger society.
The issue continues the stories surrounding the MAPPO organization, who are responsible for the creation of the Elephantmen. For example, the pursuit of a woman due to her “special DNA” and the stealing of women pregnant with hybrids. The story also continues the narrative that demonstrates the influence certain hybrids have on society and society’s attitude toward hybrid’s holding government jobs. While these ideas form the backbone of the Elephantmen story, they are less interesting to me than the emotional beats captured in the initial panels of the book.
The art takes over the story-telling at the end of the main story. Pictured are a beautiful shoreline, lively ocean, and a setting sun that seem to represent perfectly the precious last moments of John’s life. John asks Obadiah what his big eyes have seen, what his rough hands have felt? Obadiah, in a moment of emotional regression, present in moments of grief and loss, says “I like ice cream.” The connection to Johns earlier statements are clear; the exchange represents the loss of innocence felt by all.
In John’s final moments, Eb promises to watch after his grandchildren. John’s last words capture what most grandparents must feel at the end, “I would have liked to spend more time with my grandchildren.” The final panels show John fade away as he stands along the beach, the waves soon washing away his footprints which he left in the sand. Eb and Obadiah embrace the grandchildren.
I recommend picking up this book for the emotional-connections expressed in the story, which are genuine and engaging. The art is detailed and the colors rich as they beautifully represent both the human and hybrid emotions throughout. The story was hard to follow, and the importance of the MAPPO organization intentions were confusing; however, for long-time readers of the series, the cryptic nature most likely adds to the intrigue. The ending of the main story is fun and sets up and intriguing pairing moving forward.