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Para #3

Posted: Saturday, May 29, 2004
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Stuart Moore
Artists: Pablo Villalobos(p), Mostafa Moussa(i), Mike Garcia(c)
Publisher: Penny-Farthing

Opening with a clever "previously seen in..." Para Stuart Moore follows through with the emotional impact of Sara Erie's loss. She has just seen her lover Roger shredded by ghostly creatures haunting an abandoned super-collider project. The pages--starkly set by Pablo Villalobos--and lightly inked and colored by Mostafa Moussa and Mike Garcia create a lonely mood that emphasizes the character's loss.

Dr. Andersen--Sara's guardian since her father died--arrives, and the panels minimize to imbue a sense of closeness between Dr. Andersen and she. Andersen is depicted as plausibly floored by the news of Roger's death. This emotion foreshadows his reaction when he sees Roger's remains. The choice in the camera angles of the latter scene unsettles the reader: first the more forward, conventional point of view, second from inside the remains looking out.

In addition to characterizing believable pain in Sara, Stuart Moore peels back more layers of the FBI Agent Sanchez onion. The hints of her complicity intrigue, and the artist and inker use the environment to keep her awash in shadows as she performs some strange tricks using unusual tech.

Moore easily creates friction with these characters that spices the science fiction. Sara and the paranormal investigator Dr. Z find a breach in reality that either attracts the creatures that rent Roger like moths to flame or in fact serves as a source for their passage. It's only here where Mr. Moore falters somewhat. Even if Dr. Z were a certain Time Lord from Gallifrey, I'd have to say his packing of paraphernalia was almost prescient and comes off as a little too convenient.

Para darted out of the stream and still spiritedly remains afloat. This issue adds possibilities to the plotline, but the reader is still not quite sure about the motives of the characters or the central mystery of the series, but where would the fun in that be? By the numbers, Para is not, and the originality of the series, the depth of the characterization and the suspense of the sci-fi easily hooks the reader.



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