For a series that has built to a crescendo on a couple of occasions, only to find out that this is the penultimate issue kind of caught me off guard. In the next issue, Gideon Falls concludes, and I’m two years and some change older. It has often felt like we’ve been nearing a conclusion on a number of occasions, only for the script to flip on the characters. Now with several new characters and storylines only recently introduced, in the blink of an eye, it will be concluded. If it sounds like I have mixed feelings about that… well, I do.
Building blocks, gently being placed one on top of the other. Every block brings a shift in dynamic, and every block below it gives it stability. Where will the next block be placed? Will it all come tumbling down? James Tynion IV’s Something Is Killing the Children is a masterclass in how to patiently construct a meaningful and powerful story. Every added story element surprises and brings about a greater dilemma but also makes complete sense. Plot holes? Tynion declares, “Never!” Unmotivated character decisions? Tynion scoffs, “Not on your life!”
Tango of the Matadors' second issue starts readers off with the sense that time has rapidly been passing in the monster-infested world. Adelita, Ramon’s young daughter from the original series, is old enough to tackle matador training under Arturo’s watchful eyes. Meanwhile, the Volgante’s children continue terrorizing the people of Guatemala as Ramon and his companions head toward her stronghold to attack the giant fly.
As the end of this arc approaches, it's time for the bleakness of Die to meet the epic fantasy battles of past entries into the genre. With the battle on the border between Eternal Prussia and Angria now in full swing, it's up to Ash, Izzy, and their armies to win the day, despite the obvious challenges that come with full-scale warfare.
If series like Undiscovered Country reflect the times we are living in politically, The Clock reflects one of the other major aspects that is currently impacting life: outbreak. This series focuses on something that hits so close to home it might as well be standing next to you, airhorn blaring: an outbreak of an incredibly lethal form of cancer is making its way through the world, with researchers and scientists unable to find a cause or a cure. This outbreak has taken many lives and threatens so many more. One of the many lives taken is the spouse of a top researcher of this outbreak, and her death sends shockwaves as one of the brightest minds in the world is now so deeply affected by this outbreak that it threatens to completely derail the ability to fight whatever it is.
The fourth issue of Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres’ Bang! introduces the final member of the team: Paige Turnier… get it? It’s a cheeky poke at your murder mystery madams like Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote or Agatha Christie’s Marple. Turnier is an aging Chinese woman with an incredibly sharp mind and a few other tricks up her sleeves. Though like Dr. Queen who was introduced in the last issue, she downplays her position. Dr. Queen did it for a certain level of anonymity, Turnier, so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable with her heightened intellect, puts on a sort of silly French accent reminiscent of Inspector Jacques Clouseau. I find it interesting that the two female characters have to downplay their positions. I wonder if something more will come of that. Either way, Turnier is a fun character, very different from the other three added to the pool to fight against Goldmaze, a secret organization very much akin to James Bond’s SPECTRE.