Erik Cheski

Erik Cheski

How do you want to go, when the time comes?

Ghost is an assassin at the top of his game.  You want someone gone? They’re gone, no questions, except payment.  He’s been at it a while and has an impressive success rate that is reflected in his going rate above anyone else in the trade.  Then, a bullet he never saw coming: cancer with a terminal diagnosis.  It’s a cleaner shot than even he could have made and a withering death that he wants no part of, so he calls for a mark on himself. One of his contemporaries will spare him the pain and degradation by taking him down quick.  A man, once calling a Dead Man’s Party on himself, doesn’t fight it, he just enjoys the time remaining and waits for oblivion.  But, not everything is as it seems, and there are miles to go before he sleeps.

Pain is just weakness leaving the body.  That’s…a LOT of weakness.

Holy crap.  I have no issue watching Game of Thrones and the violent and sadistic stuff that happens there - rats to the belly; Jamie’s hand; basically everything that Joffrey and Bolton’s bastard do - I can watch without too much distaste.  This final issue, though…in the last issue, we saw someone getting impaled voluntarily to accelerate the process in a horrific way to end the suffering, and that seems almost normal compared to what this one’s got packing.  If you’re a horror fan and have not been reading this series, you need to get to a shop and collect it post haste.

Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics! In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to stop and smell the roses. In the days leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their personal love letters to the areas of geekdom they adore the most.

Dathon (Nicholas D. Wolfwood, his prayers unanswered)[1],

Before (Temba, at rest)[2], you were (Isuldur, before the Ring)[3].  The Children of Tama saw the Federation as (Toothless, before his pain)[4], but you were (Tyrion at the Moon Door)[5], looking past (Mal and Jayne, when the money’s too good.)[6] to perhaps become (Poe and Fin, when the Force Awakened)[7].  You knew this might (Spock, when Genesis loomed)[8], but you (Luke, with the targeting computer off)[9].  Picard was (Gollum at the pool, with Master beckoning)[10], but you (Gold Leader in the Trench)[11]. (The Balrog on the Bridge)[12] awaited, but (By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet)[13], then Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel IV would be Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra!

There stood a man on a pale horse, and his name was Death.

Freedom can be a scary thing, if you’re not ready for it.  Yes, you have no one calling the shots, no one telling you how to live your life, but that means no one’s watching your back either.  We as human beings absolutely have to give up a piece of our freedom the moment we trust another person and allow ourselves to be trusted in return.  We check in with this other person to make sure that our relative status is okay, that they’re providing us what we need, and that they’re getting what they need, if only for the reason of keeping them willing to continue providing for you.  The only truly free person is one willing to cut off themselves from everything, and when everything is cut off for you, if you’re not ready for it, it can be a very short experience.

The Earth is washed clean of sin by Heaven’s tears.

It’s been ten years since the Category 1 hurricane named Katrina came ashore in N’Orleans.  In that ten years, for all those living outside the Big Easy, Katrina has become something removed from what it was: a symbol of the failure of Federal Power, a tragedy whose response is the new standard upon which to base every catastrophic event.  How much damage was mitigated in New York when Sandy struck, and how many lives were saved because of lessons learned in the heart of the Gulf?  And how much was lost in spite of those lessons?  When society falls apart, what is the moral compass that guides you?  Do you work to help others or just get yourself out of harm’s way?  When the eyes of the world turn away from you, who emerges?

Why do we fall, sir?

To learn to get back up and seek unholy power to reduce the one that made us fall to a fine paste to serve to other potential enemies on toast with tea.

Sir, perhaps I’ve been remiss in not recommending a therapist . . .

When death comes for you, no bargain will sate its appetite.

The penultimate issue of this series is filled with amazing action and the most dire of consequences. Having engaged the Dark Rider’s contingent of Moloks and their giant wooden “mech,” the brave men crewing Steam begin this issue in the fight of their lives against a foe whose power they’ve not yet begun to understand.  This story has consistently taken me by surprise, and this issue ramps it up in a visceral way.

Prison, for a large percentage of the population (but not large enough by far) will always remain a boogeyman, a place where people who do bad things go, but not little bad things like cheating on your spouse or sabotaging someone else’s promotion for your own benefit, but big bad things like doing drugs (if you’re not white) or killing someone.  What happens when that bogeyman comes to life for no reason at all?  Other than Netfilx’s How to Make a Murderer, this is also the subject of Ryan Ferrier and Daniel Bayliss’ Kennel Block Blues, (as far as we’re aware, asour protagonist’s protestations of innocence have yet to be substantiated by anyone else).  Having been tossed onto death row for no reason, Oliver tries to handle his new reality in the only way he knows how: escaping into a fantastic alternate reality in his mind where life is an old-timey cartoon.

Betvin Geant and Kay continue their chronicling of the bringer of the second coming, and it seems that the "wandering in the wilderness" part is over.  Having confronted what he believes to be Satan, Michael is ready to preach to his flock and, of course, perform miracles.  Adam and Noa continue to get to know one another and seem to be excluded from the wildfire spread of Michael's message and suddenly booming online presence.

This is sudden.

I really don’t know how this can be the final issue of this series. There was so much fun potential and craziness in store for this brilliant idea!  But, alas, much like Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal’s Buzzkill, it seems that four is it for this really original and supremely funny bunch of ninnymuggins.  Having had their last several targets wiped out by some shady, ninja-like baddies, the Paybacks attempt to collect in coin what the opposition looks to gather in blood, and we end up in an all-out brawl when the two sides meet.  The forces that have put everything into motion thus far finally begin to show the strings they’ve been pulling, and these jerks then pull a Game of Thrones on me that has me demanding WHY? but I’ll never get an answer now, will I?

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