"Friends and other Enemies"
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: John Watkiss
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Just when I think that this story cannot get anymore confusing, it does. Even though I have decided to stick it through to the end of this arc, I am not sure that I will do so after this, or rather, it is almost certain that I will not be continuing it after it. There are so many twists and turns here that after a while, it becomes tedious to keep track of every one of them, or even want to, and that too in just one issue. Still, even with all the confusion, this issue did provide some clarifications, a first for this series (after the first issue).
Picking up from last month’s ending (with Sarah naked and Brandon in the Deadman costume), this issue soon takes off on yet another of its time and/or dimension jumps. This time around, it is because of Brandon getting shot, and that too in the first swing of the aerial routine that he and Sarah get suckered into. This is all because of the costumes they steal to (try to) make a getaway, that of a trapeze artist named Madame Salina and her partner, the incomparable Deadman.
After getting shot, Brandon flashes to yet another "pre-crash" conversation with his brother, who is (as always) a bunch of quips and cryptic comments. I understand that these "beyond the grave" meetings between the two brothers are a big part of the plot, but after four issues, this shtick has gotten old and tired. I do hope that Scott Cayce (Brandon’s brother) and his constant butting in is done away with at the end of this arc and doesn’t become a constant mainstay of the title.
Back in the real world, a recovered and healed Brandon meets up with Sarah and gets into an argument with her on account of his telling her what Scott, or rather his ghost, told him, both in regards to Brandon (and this family) and to the fetus growing within Sarah. Not helping matters is Brandon’s kissing her the previous night at the circus.
The issue ends with yet another pursuit, yet another flashback/jump for Brandon and yet another betrayal. Oh, wait, that is a new one, with Sarah’s ex-professor playing the part of the betrayer.
On the art front, things are pretty much the same as they have been for the last three issues. While the overall ambience is suited to the writing and the mood the story warrants, there were a few instances where I would have liked a bit more clarity.
Conclusion: The Government as the bad guys is one of the oldest and clichéd plot-angles, one used to death, not only in comics, but also movies, books, TV shows, etc. As with Scott Cayce, I do hope that this also gets dealt with and soon at that.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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