Written by, Jody LeHeup
Art by, Nathan Fox
Colors by, Dave Stewart
Letters by, Steve Wands
This story began when, seven years previously, Jazen Jenner and The Sword of God attacked earth starting a war, which continues to this day. This issue begins with the leader of earth addressing the people and stating that violence is futile and that they need to hold true to its values so as not to become like its enemy. Meanwhile, brutal combat between two female warriors ends with one combatant cut open and intestines spilling out. The disconnect between rhetoric and real life is not lost. The scene transitions to a small group as they fight operatives of The Sword of God, which ends with Nathan, The Weatherman, freed from his mechanical cell, while “Cross”, the victorious female combatant, and Marshall join teams to win vengeance to the evil that The Sword of God committed toward Marshall’s family.
The action is brutal, intense, and has an air of finality. Unlike most comic book heroes, in this story, the characters who die are dead, or, transformed into mechanical versions of their former selves with all their memories, the ones the government wants them to keep, intact. It’s an intriguing story that touches on important themes around the rights of individuals, the good of the people and who decides what that is, and who are the good guys? The use of technology and the dangers technology presents to the preservation of human rights has long been a central theme to science fiction stories. This story avoids tropes by creating a triangle of combatants, which include the earth’s government, the Sword of God group, and Cross’ group of vigilantes.
In addition, the writer does a nice job with character development. Honestly, it’s the characters, their histories, and their yet-to-be-revealed allegiances that drives the story. For example, the mystery surrounds Nathan, his prior involvement with The Sword of God, and his current relationship with Cross and her group is not entirely voluntary on Nathan’s part. The art, which depicts gut-wrenching violence mixed with expanded scenes of outer space, supports the gritty realism of the story. The characters are portrayed as believable, representing a diverse set of body-types. Tall, fat, lean, mixed with fit and complexions that are just as diverse all come together to represent a society that is complex.
Overall = 9.5/10
This issue represents the final issue in this story arc with the authors taking time over the next several months to generate the next story arc. This story has been at or near the top of my stack of best comics of the year for its creativity, brutality, realism, and engaging art. I highly recommend that readers jump on board, purchase the graphic novel when it’s released, especially if you are a fan of the science fiction genre of comics.