IDW Publishing 2019
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Illustrated by Alex Sanchez
Coloured by Jay Fotos
Lettered by Shawn Lee
“Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
The Pandemica Team is losing the war against the ARK madmen who want to “purify” humanity of ethnic taints. Agent De’Neesa fights her way through SpecOps killers and radical mutations to bring the infected child to the Lighthouse, a mobile research lab ready to begin work on a cure. If she can get there.
I love this series! Take a worldwide pandemic, throw in some “terrorism” and the ultimate reason behind this pandemic and you have what I love about Jonathan and how his mind works. I am still waiting on a Joe Ledger series, minimum 12 issues of course, but in the meantime keep these coming! Just the fact that those who are behind this are what they are and how they've managed to infiltrate so many aspects of important positions and basically control the government well that's just amazingly impressive to think about. This kind of planning, longevity and utter vileness is simply to be admired if not abhorred by.
I like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is laid down exceedingly well. What I like about this issue in particular is the fact that this one doesn't read anything like you'd expect it to and while it feels all over the place what it actually does is give us back story and introspective into the agents, their lives together and how well they know each other. So when that shocking moment came at the end of last issue we get to see how that started. The pacing is amazing and as it takes you on the journey through the pages and we see how the twists and turns come about well it's a great ride. The character development we see here is extraordinary because if you thought you knew or understood the characters think again. What Jonathan does here with them took me by surprise and made me see them in a whole new light. The way that this is structured and how we see the ebb & flow of the book so that the reading experience is one you will not forget.
The interiors here are so incredibly utterly gorgeous. The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights utilised to bring about this quality and level in the attention to detail is mindbogglingly good. I mean the faces and facial expressions further the characterisation in ways words alone cannot do. That we don't see Chuck more in flagrante was disappointing but oh well, gingers are well gifted in one aspect heh. I will always want to see more backgrounds, more so when the artist is this talented because when we see them oh my stars and garters. With the composition within the panels we see depth perception, scale and sense of size and scope, when they aren't utilised it diminishes the impact some. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show an incredibly talented eye for storytelling. The colour work is beautifully rendered. While this incredibly muted and sombre in tone we still the various hues and tones within those colours to create shading, highlights and shadow work. Plus when the colour pops it pops in some of the best ways possible.
This is such an intense and gratifying read. Things you do not expect to see you see in spades and that which you expect is pretty non-existent which keeps the reader on their toes. This is as far from typical as you get with a Pandemic style story and that is why I love Jonathan's storytelling because I cannot predict what is going to happen.