Things have shifted gears in this issue. Up until now, it’s been about main character Mali’s journey to accept her destiny: to embrace her role in the eternal war she’s been drafted to fight in and track down and kill the ruthless Tessa, her sworn enemy from the other side of said war—before Tessa can kill her first. Now, however, Mali and Tessa have both rebelled against the war and their respective missions of destruction. Now, instead of enemies, Mali and Tessa have become lovers.
The change was incredibly sudden, but it doesn’t feel forced or out of left field. This issue opens with a bit of backstory and helps us see that, though the two have been enemies for a thousand lifetimes, this love for one another has been slowly brewing in the background all that time, as well.
After refusing to kill one another, Mali and Tessa have now gone on the run from the people orchestrating this war, who would punish both of them if they found out what was going on. The previous issue showed the desperate manhunt for these soldiers who have gone AWOL. Everywhere they go, someone is looking for them, trying to kill them. Can they ever be safe? Is there anywhere on the planet where they can simply be together and enjoy the love and the life that they’ve finally found with one another? Or does abandoning the war they were recruited for mean they now have to wage their own, two-person war on both sides in order to find peace?
This is an incredibly well-written issue – the best, I think, since the very first one. It’s less action-oriented (though there’s some) and more about the relationship between Mali and Tessa and the doom that looms overhead, even when neither wants to talk about it. They travel across the country in a boxcar, find food and supplies wherever they can, make love whenever they can, and explore the other lives they’ve lived throughout history. Through it all, though, they constantly have to look over their shoulders, knowing that any minute it could all be over.
The story has fascinated me from the very beginning, and this issue has piqued my interest even more. I’m captivated by the relationship of these two former enemies and am dying to know if they can find a way to escape their fate—or if they’re forever doomed. Hopefully, in the next issue, we’ll be a step closer to finding out.