Red 5 Comics 2019
Written by Jim Ousley
Illustrated by Ben Sawyer
Once they find the off-outworlders' safe haven destroyed by The 88s, Syd Kiowa and her android pilot Rags hatch a plan to infiltrate the Overseers' compound and find a way for Avina's testimony to reach her fellow off-outworlders. Back in Black Star City, the Overseers' corrupt membership is shockingly revealed as Keres puts Black Star City on lockdown.....
Good grief just when you think you've seen it all the boys throw things into our path that completely and utterly changes things. I love this story and even better than that I feel like this is the beginning of a franchise. I can see Syd and her cohorts moving forward expanding their roster and making a difference on this world they call home. I personally have found a way to connect to these characters in such a fashion that I hadn't been prepared for and now that we're at that pivotal point in this arc the stakes are about as high as my blood pressure got. The tension and physical reaction the body experiences while reading this is because of how well this book is put together.
The way that this is being told is incredibly well done. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented beautifully. I really find myself lost in how this is being told, not lost as in cannot follow but lost in thought and wonder at what I am seeing how the events unfold before us. It is strongly written and has this amazing layering and characterisation that tend we weave their way into a sort of DNA strand. The character development is ever evolving and with each encounter and how they face the situations and circumstances continue to shape who they are. The pacing is perfect and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way we are treated to how this all creates the ebb & flow to the book.
There is something unique about this series and the face they can put so much humanity into it utilising alien species as the catalyst for it is mind-blowing to me. Just the fact that it's easier and more accessible to show this level of humanity without utilising traditional humans works so much more effectively is almost mind numbing. Even then people don't see their own humanity the same way so yes the boys have engaged my mind and made me think in ways that are probably meant and completely outside the realm of the book itself.
Ben's work on the interiors to me is very much both traditional and non-traditional at the same time. The linework is gorgeous and how he is able to utilise the varying weights to bring out this level of detail is really extremely nice to see. The faces on the humans seem to be much different than you'd expect to see here and the dichotomy between human and non-human is amazing to see plus the facial expressions and body language further the characterisation beautifully. The utilisation of the backgrounds we see and how they provide depth perception a sense of scale and that overall feeling of size and scope to the book is superb. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show this marvellous eye for storytelling. The colour work we see here is divine. The way that the hues and tones within the colours are utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is phenomenally rendered.
This book continues to surprise and impress me at every turn. Just when you think you have a handle on what you think is going on we just get that thought smacked right out of our heads. This is the kind of storytelling that is light years ahead of it's time and it's something that should make everyone sit up and take notice. I love this book, the idea behind it and just how it sets things up to keep moving forward after this arc.