Have you ever just had one of those days? You wake up early, you know your schedule, and though it seems daunting, you’ve got a plan and nothing’s gonna get in your way. Then, a homicidal zealot who’s converted your child into a despotic leader of an ancient cult throws a wrench in the whole damn thing. Happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. For those of you who are saying “No..?” and “Did this guy hit his head again?” then I guess you’ll have to live vicariously through the fifth issue of Schismatic and mind your own business about this lump. (Named him Steve.) For those of you keeping track, the fourth issue ended with the reveal that not only are Eko and Darma alive, but Eko has thrived in his captivity. Amalia and Idris have fought through every hell they’ve met to find a new one awaiting them.
Writer Andrew Adams needs a puppy, but I think he needs to be supervised with it until he learns how to love things and not shoot them with pointed bits. This issue is somehow one of the most heart-rending and assuredly most depressing and disturbing so far. In the same vein as the toying of emotions that George R.R. Martin enjoys engaging in, Adams turns our emotions into a fine putty that he tosses about like some kind of...putty tosser. There's an incredible amount to unpack in this issue story wise and has set up a finale that I can only guess at. There's nothing I've read that gives me any clue as to where things will go from here, because the world has become very suddenly bleak. I'm prepared for a downbeat ending, but there are still enough pieces in play that make me feel that something more than a Pyrrhic victory is possible. I've enjoyed how he's moved the many parts of his narrative throughout the series, and I can't wait to see how he ties it all up.
Rachel Briner has such an arresting style; there's a pacing that she adds to the story by holding your attention, slowing your progress, and, at the same time, increasing the tension of every moment. The stakes she bestows upon this book are magnificent. There's no uninteresting moment to behold; even the parts that in other works would be interstitial filler have a vibrancy and life that are often saved for the most outlandish splash pages. I love the section in the back of the issues where we get to see her thumbnail previews, and the suggestion of how she uses color is awesome. I find Jarra hard to look at; she's at once captivating and repulsive all through the use of the colors that make her difficult to read. I think it's a heck of an accomplishment for any artist to make something so disconcerting so absolutely entrancing. Also, a huge applause for her Rocky Horror Picture Show-inspired reveal. It's a thing of beauty.
This series is a spectacular meandering down the path to hell, and it's one that I can't get enough of. I've never been a huge fan of Lovecraftian horror, if only for the fact that I never found the allure of it. This team has given me a huge insight into that world and why people find it so captivating. These two can change your mind on what you like; they're great ambassadors of thought. Ain't that right, Steve?
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