Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Chris Sprouse (p), Karl Story (i)
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
Plot: The collective corporate drones try to take over the science station, led by their king bee. Our hero Nathan Kane resists in sneaky guerilla fashion. The scientists are his friends, and the invading force is tiny. Some aliens in coffins in the sea below start growling.
Comments: What a misfire. This is where the series has been heading all along? This issue is one long reset button (extra-long, for no discernible reason, as the little that's accomplished here could have taken 1/3 the pages). This is the opposite number to Ellis? Ultimate Nightmare, which stretched a few issues of padding between a compelling beginning and a satisfying finale full of surprises. Here we've got steadily mounting build-up, and then wipe-out.
We've had glimpses of a convincing future world filled with real people (and their scary antitheses in both the hive-mind ship and the sleeping warriors of Old frozen in Europa). This issue presents some very lucky real people, some non-scary hive soldiers that could be any generic invading force, and the same threat of waking the sleeping demons that we've had since issue one.
I want my money back. I really thought this story was going somewhere, but I'm left completely nonplussed by the events of this issue. I simply can't follow what happened. Are they still in orbit around Jupiter? Are the alien coffins fired upon? What's the big metallic ring thing that Sprouse draws so lovingly? Is it a space warp? Is that how they end up crashing back to Earth at the end, millions of miles away? There's lots of geometry in his heart, but no idea of what any of it is doing at any time. That has to be the script, as Sprouse is more than capable of conveying coherent action.
We're never to learn anything about the alien warriors, who are presumably destroyed, along with Europa perhaps, though there still seems to be some alien tech hiding on an asteroid, so they may have woken the sleeping giant after all, but we won't know because the survivors are too busy making quips during the stock crash landing off the shore of Manhattan.
This reads like Ellis forgot where he was going with this book, and just hurriedly tied it off as quickly as possible. The finale was scheduled to be extra long, so we get decompressed filler rather than a real climax. It's the casualty of having too many projects going on at once, I guess, and a complete letdown for the reader. Everything that threatened to happen all along is averted, somehow, by something, and the only nice people in the story survive. So, yay?
Sprouse's art looks great, but could we please have some narrative captions again, ever? The retro-aliens had the look of bizarre gods from old sci-fi serials, but those old stories at least clued us in to when and where a scene change occurred.
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