Oni Press 2013
Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque
Coloured by Dan Jackson
A planet-destroying asteroid is headed directly for Earth. Despite opposition from the alien Builders, the Clarke crew managed to send a warning message from deep space about the threat. President Blades has a solution - the US-controlled orbital LEOPRD laser can destroy the asteroid. However, World War III continues, and opposing AFE forces, unaware of the space-based weapons crucial importance to the survival of the planet, have sent a barrage of nuclear missiles against the LEOPRD.
You have to admire the way Charles has taken this series. With the crew of the Clarke firmly in bed with the aliens at the Chandelier unable to convince them to help save their planet and while planetside we’ve got a former and current American President working at odds with one another each thinking they know how to handle the situation best. Sometimes experience can hamper you point of view and not let you see new avenues to explore and make work and being so set in you ways and path well that can come across as well egomaniacal.
The story development, plot advancement and having such a wide array of characters to cover and yet to manage giving each their own significant amount of face time and such good characterization isn’t an easy feat and yet Charles makes it look so darn easy. Not to mention with Former President Carroll using a journalist to spin his side of the story to make him seem more reasonable and noble while revealing most of what’s happened, only the parts that can be used to paint him in a positive light, well it’s quite the effective tool.
The events that unfold in this issue are superbly done. With last issue’s missile launch by the Soviets towards LEOPRD playing out this issue and subsequent results thereof really have been orchestrated in such a way that really deepens the mystery who is really in charge and is able to actually manipulate the situation to their advantage is monstrously smart in I can’t wait to see as more of that plan unfolds.
In space Gomez goes a long way in trying prove that regardless of how he’s seen now with half his body being reconstructed by the aliens thats he is still a member of this team and is with them not against them. That the crew of the Clarke if so fractured makes for an interesting angle as well here. With a surprise ally coming to his aide and revealing herself well that just made me smile and suddenly I wanted more of this unlikely pair’s adventure sooner rather than later. Though we’ll have to wait to see how this encounter unfolds.
I’m so impressed with how Charles is writing this series. There is so much overt and covert manipulations going on and who is the clear puppet master isn’t as crystal clear as you’d imagine it to be but the race to save the human race and who wants to be the one with all the glory of it is still in play. This really is among some of the most intelligent writing around today.
Alberto’s interiors coloured by Dan have always been on point but with each issue that comes out you see that skill he has refined more and more. He’s going with more unique page and panel layouts and the angles he creates with the imagery is fascinating to see. Regardless if it’s such scenes as the missiles exploding in space or the men in charge of the world they have this great unique look to each of them that’s so well detailed it’s really a joy to see this compliment the writing.
Oni Press may be small but they have larger than life stories that stand out in today’s world and this one is definitely one that sits head and shoulders above the crowd.