Dark Horse Comics 2016
Written by Van Jensen
Illustrated by Pete Woods
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
The Nine Prophecies foretell a great cataclysm and the end of the age of the Nine Families that secretly rule the world. The first has come true, and now the mysterious and deadly Hum aims to fulfill the others. Agent Grahame is desperate to prove that Hum is just a man...a man who can be killed. Elsewhere, radio host Bela is drawn into the fight for the fate of the world as she learns some of the Families' long-hidden secrets.
The setup is over and Van is moving things along at a great pace. This issue we learn what the nine prophecies are and it’s interesting that this coalesces with the Nine Houses keeping all that symmetry nicely in play. Still that we open where we left off with Grahame being indoctrinated into the inner circle and learning what exactly the prophecies are is interesting to see. How this will relate to his evolving attitude towards the events that will inevitably unfold and how he will be able to decipher and possibly predict which are to follow will be instrumental to him if he’s to stay alive.
I’m enjoy that Van’s story is making me think things through in ways that aren’t necessarily outlined in the issue. For me that he’s engaged my mind to see possible outcomes or directions means that the tale he’s weaving is indeed strong. I love secret societies who think they rule the world and then there’s opposite side where it’s usually one lone person trying to uncover the truth and expose it. So that this is that while it’s also about outside forces that the Nine House originally banished so they could rule the world well that’s just icing on the proverbial cake.
Vans ability to weave three sets of story arcs into one story thereby making the whole seem like a grandeur epic is impressive. I mean the houses have to deal with Hum, each other’s mistrust and hatred, keep their daily activities moving forward like nothing is happening and finally figure out how to deal with the ever elusive and resourceful Bela Kalki, also incidentally a part of the prophecy. This tied into Grahame’s own feelings about them being stories and not real and his hardened edge about dealing with the threats as they come well it’s all playing out in ways that are exciting and not typical.
I don’t know what’s going on with Pete’s interiors but it feels like he’s using digital this time around. There’s a different quality to them that I’m totally digging. The backgrounds especially have this really interesting look, tone and feel to them that is quite effective in establishing the bigger picture of the moment. The flow through the page layouts with the use of angles and perspective are great. I like the facial expressions and how easy they are to read and it really does have a more animated style here that kind of tricks you into thinking this is more innocent than it is.
With prophecies coming true and the Nine Houses scrambling while forces beyond their control, for the first time, wreak havoc is about as exciting as it gets. Oh and then there’s the cryptids both known and unknown, by the way how cool is it that there are things out there the houses think of as myths that are real?, coming to light and into play couldn’t expand this craziness any further if it wanted to. Thoroughly engaging the mind and imagination!