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.
J.D. Oliva continues his post-apocalyptic crime drama with many twists and turns. We’re off and running now, and it seems we’ll be getting all exposition through flashback sequences, and that’s perfectly fine for me. This is a dark and dangerous world, and I love every moment we get to spend in it. Surprisingly, the flashbacks feel like the relief moments in this book, but end up cranking up the action with character motivations. In this issue, we see a glimpse of Ethan before the storm with his family. The seemingly innocent interactions belie the man we’ve come to know, and every sentence is loaded with import and very dark double meaning. This dichotomy serves to seamlessly launch us back into the thick of the tension of the present moment which varies between slow burn and sudden twists with a deft and practiced hand. The final panel leaves me a touch disappointed as our only female character seems to become a plot device more so than a solid character that I was eager to follow; however, the moment serves to up the ante once more and leaves us eagerly anticipating the next issue. There’s a tension that Oliva certainly excels at, and it’s very engaging.
Richard P. Clark continues to supply the visuals for this story and manages to support and give a great pop to the action that Oliva has offered. The double feeling of the flashbacks I mentioned above is further highlighted in the art. Though the tone is much brighter and sunnier, the palette remains dark and allows the undercurrent and subtext to easily present itself to the reader. This couples with duplicated and subtly shifted images to mark the beginning and ends of these sequences much like Shakespeare’s rhyming couplets. It provides a visual cue of where we’re going and still lends itself well to the story and the form as a whole. The final panel is handled in a very shocking and sudden way and serves to story with its unpredictability.
This series is a great examination of the human spirit, especially in the extremes of good and evil. With significant, yet not heavy handed, literary influence, the Bible plays an integral part in separating the two but in unexpected ways. This is a great book for anyone who loves a post-apocalypse setting with the added twist of knowing that society will indeed return, limiting the time of free action and putting a clock on everything that needs to happen.
Share the stories that move you.