This issue does a nice job of balancing the stakes and some character development for the major players. It opens up a little while ago, with Vess announcing her intention to become a None. It further contextualizes why her decision is considered so radical (Heads up: “Downs” are hot mate tickets, because they’re universal genetic recipients which, as you can imagine, may be very useful in repopulating a dwindling race.) On the other hand, Gris is the guardian of her brother because of some unsavory family activity, and it’s obviously something that she cares a great deal about. The other players haven’t really been given much time yet, but I hope that they will start to become more established as the story opens up. There is some serious potential here, especially with the corporate shill being taken on a ride.
Several issues seem to lie at the heart of this story. There’s the whole thing about corporate greed and the influence of rampant consumerism feeding a capitalistic ideology. On the other hand, you have a monastic society that, on its face, decries that very materialistic drive and yet, apparently, may have ties to the very corporation at the source of the problem itself. Is it okay to accept dirty money to fund your activities, or does that somehow compromise your ideals? There are definitely some absolutist vs. relativist vibes here. I think the quieter story here is about family: how it can be what you seek vs. what you’re born into - a sense of belonging - and how that can either serve to better you or be your downfall.
Artwise, I’m still really enamored by Christian Ward’s work. It’s so vibrant and beautiful, and it lends such a wonderful alien-ness to such a human story. It’s also hard to describe, but so much of this otherworldly universe still feels innately human, and I think that’s such am important element to telling this story.
Overall: Two issues in, and I’m utterly drawn into this world. The story isn’t the most original, but I’m really invested in the two female (?) protagonists, and I’m really looking forward to their worlds colliding.
Creative Team: G. Willow Wilson (writer), Christian Ward (artist), Sal Cipriano (letterer)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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