Wow. Just wow. That was a ride with exactly the kind of cathartic ending I was hoping for. For the last four issues, I’ve been reading in a state of ever-increasing anxiety as this group of dogs, one by one, discovered that their owner was a serial killer. You knew generally how it was going to pan out, but the ride was simply beautiful.
In the last issue, Tim’s journey to find out what the Great Machine was keeping from him brings a surprising revelation—it wanted Tim to defy it and search for the truth himself. What Tim found was a duality that co-exists together: man and machine alongside magic and data. The Great Machine gifts Tim with all the data and all the magic, allowing Tim to change into something else if he desires. But what really changed him was meeting the humans who became his family and, finally, Mila.
Universe building is a tricky business. As any fan of comic book films can see, success is spotty at best. This goes for comics, as well. With the exception of both Marvel and DC in the 1960s, there have been numerous struggles. From start-ups like the Ultraverse and Crossgen, to established properties the New 52, the comics graveyard is full of failed universe endeavors.
I remember only just a few years ago when the name James Tynion IV popped up on a weekly Batman comic co-written by Scott Snyder. I was really big into Snyder’s Batman run, and this weekly series was pretty ambitious. I don’t remember having read much by Tynion before that, so this must have been a trial by fire! Now, the output he’s had since then has been astounding. Not just the number of comics, but the quality has been mindbogglingly genius. Something Is Killing the Children is a horror story. It’s an awful, horrible story of children being ripped apart, but there is more heart in this series than most straight-up dramas.
Quick recap: On Earth That Was, WashBot led the crew to the Midwestern headquarters of Washburne Industries. Unfortunately for them, they’re not the only ones from their side of the ‘Verse that have discovered the Earth That Was. While most of the crew opted to make a run for it, Zoë takes a stand to protect the Washburne legacy.
Black Hammer of late has been jumping far into the past, flinging itself into the future, meandering through other timelines, and asking what ifs? But finally, we’re placed relatively back into the normal timeline of our heroes, in this case Lucy Weber’s (the daughter of the original Black Hammer) who then became the new Black Hammer and helped save the heroes lost to the cabin. Speed forward 20 years, and Weber is married, a mother, and has hung up the mantle of being a hero. How well is family life going for Lucy? Well… not so poorly that she’s willing to don the mantle of Black Hammer again.
Trapped in a mansion on an island during a storm, Sarah Jewell and her traveling campaign, Miss La Fleur, now have two mysterious deaths on their hands: the husband of their host and one of the guests. What was supposed to be an auction of arcane and supernatural items has become a murder mystery, and everyone is a suspect, including the rare objects up for sale. The death of Mr. Eckart has all of the earmarks of an occult ritual gone wrong. Both Sarah and Miss La Fleur suspect that the artifacts may be the cause of it all, but they have no proof and no leads. What is even stranger is that everyone has had the same dream of shadows closing in on them. Does this portend another death?
Do you wonder where poetry comes from? Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people can dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world?
Upon reading Compass the first time through, one can feel that it’s steeped in history; the details about the places and people don’t feel made up (and, in many instances, they are not), but it’s also steeped in the love of Indiana Jones, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and other adventures rooted in the joy of discovery. And in the notes following the story, the writers - Robert Mackenzie and David Walker - make specific reference to Mysterious Cities of Gold, also a show I grew up on!
I’m not even sure how to catch anyone up on what’s happening in Ultramega, and that’s honestly pretty wonderful. This is like nothing else out there right now. It’s a Kaiju story that isn’t concerned at all about pandering to tropes. It’s barely concerned about giving us a hero’s journey, and it’s pulling off avoiding that in the most spectacular way (in spades).