Issue #3 picks up right where it left off in the last issue, after Regula was captured and the freed Augurs are forced to make a dangerous move for to ensure their freedom. Throughout all of this, readers are given a few surprising twists and revelations along the way, including betrayal. To steal a line from a small indie film, “We’re in the endgame now.”
Regula being an Augur wasn’t as big of a shock as expected, but I feel that comes with the territory. When dealing with stories with similar themes, there is always a character that is the same as the oppressed people, like Javert in Les Misérables or Philo in Carnival Row. This often adds a layer of depth to the story's thematic message of understanding and acceptance, providing proof of the character's humanity.
The stronger reveal in this chapter of the story, however, was that of Director Jackson. In the opening pages, we’re given a look into his reasoning and rationalization for his actions, and it changes things in a thought-provoking way. Readers can tell that Director Jackson serves an allegory for the people in charge. He’s the personification of “the ends justifying the means,” and yet there’s a desperation in him, one that comes from someplace almost admirable: the love of a father. His desperation to save his kids, and the nihilistic realization that nothing anyone does really matters, humanizes him. This isn’t condoning his actions, though. What he is doing - the dehumanization and torture of people for their worth - is wrong, plain and simple. Understanding that he’s a human adds a layer of philosophical complexity to what seems to be the overarching theme of the series - that we’re all human and we all deserve compassion. It could’ve been easy to simply paint Director Jackson as a stereotypical villain, and that would’ve been okay, but that would have done a disservice to the story. Jeffrey and Susan Bridges have instead opted to make every character three-dimensional. Some characters may do horrendous things in the name of the good of the many, but others are also looking out for the few. To reiterate, Director Jackson is a bad guy doing bad things, no matter what his justifications are. But by humanizing him, the Bridges have reminded us that there are no monsters perpetuating the cycle of xenophobia and intolerance (because that’s what it is when we treat humans as second-class citizens, no matter the reasoning behind it); there are only humans doing horrible things to other humans.
The art and color have to be commended here. What’s a comic book without them? Walter Geovani and Brittany Peer have effortlessly added to the atmosphere of the story. If you pay attention to the backgrounds, everything feels familiar but futuristic. Peer’s colors highlight and add a depth to Geovani’s art direction, creating a subdued atmosphere reminiscent of the original Total Recall.
The penultimate chapter of Killswitch does almost everything right, and the Bridges’ ability to craft a compelling story leaves readers itching for closure with all of the characters, not just the protagonists. I'm worried, though, because these stories typically have a bittersweet ending, and it’ll be no surprise if not everyone makes it to freedom.
Creative Team: Jefferey and Susan Bridges (writers), Walter Geovani (art), Brittany Peer (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters), Natasha Alterici (cover), Dylan Todd/Big Red Robot (logo)
Publisher: Action Lab: Danger Zone
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