I wasn’t entirely sure what this book was about, but I had seen last Wednesday that a lot of people online were saying LOTS of good things about this book. So, on Thursday, when I took a trip to a town about an hour away for some things, I stopped into the local comic shop there, and they had a copy of this book- so I grabbed it. I thought the cover was interesting and very dynamic looking, but beyond that, I didn’t have much to go on for the book. Plus, I have a pretty solid track record with Boom! Studios books, so I was rather optimistic about this book.
The story opens with some brief backstory on the “war” that has been waged over centuries between these resurrected warriors. The second page, a rather dynamic splash page, was gorgeous- and filled with lots of moments from throughout history where these two warriors have faced one another. I was not sure what this book was going to be about, but I did not think that the story would have started off the way that it did.
Then the story changes, ever so slightly, when we flash forward to the current timeline- and meet Mali in a coffee shop in Kansas City, where she screams out “Don’t Kill Me!” and drops her coffee. From there we see more of Mali’s personality come through, and we get a bit more backstory from her. Like, how she is the stepdaughter of a serial killer, and that she moved away and changed her name in order to attempt a “normal life”- but this doesn’t seem to be working out for her.
I thought that this book would track a little more closely to Nailbiter from Image once the idea of the “Omaha Ripper” came to light- it seemed like a likely conclusion to draw, but was pretty far from the truth, even if her stepdad does come back into the story later on. I liked the sequence where Mali sleeps and dreams, but her dreams are more like flashbacks from these previous lives. Mali has a hard time dealing with these “dreams” and ends up in a sleepwalking-type trance where she attacks her boyfriend in his sleep. They have a big falling out, which just helps to isolate Mali more and more.
The next scene with the character called “Miss Vos” was really interesting. Something akin to the final scene in Scarface, with some Bourne Identity and Kill Bill thrown in together. I liked to see how she worked, being so methodical and precise. The last sequence for the issue was very much a major change of pace for the story- Mali goes to a party, and meets a cute boy, then is accosted by some random and hit over the head with a bottle or something (I am hoping this guy was one of these sort of Eternal Warrior-types, and not just an unhinged homeless weirdo) so her past lives come flooding back to her, and her memories all return in a torrent.
I loved the moment in that final arc, where Mali is on an empty city bus, but the bus isn’t actually empty, because it is filled with the specters of the past warriors that Mali had been. I thought that the image was very potent, and really drove home the concept of the story, without having there be too much “wordy stuff” to get in the way. It was also just a nice, quiet moment- there isn’t any action just then (but there IS action in this story) that really draws the reader (at least, myself) into the story.
I loved the ending of this story- it was ABSOLUTELY unpredictable. I didn’t think that the end of the story would have made it’s way to the point it found itself it, but I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of good things about this book- the artwork is really solid, even though Mali is just a “run of the mill” hipster type. Maybe I thought this book would track similarly to Nailbiter because Jonathan Brandon Sawyer’s artwork reminds me of Mike Hawthorne’s work on that book. I like Christopher Sebela’s storytelling in this book, it is really a fun and engaging read- with lots of good, cinematic moments throughout. This was a book that I was unsure of when I picked it up, but I really think it is worth reading. It isn’t a book for the young’uns (much like the other Boom! Studios books that I picked up thinking they were all-ages, like The Spire) because of all the bloody, violent stuff, but it is definitely worth checking out!