Story by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art and Cover by: Fiona Staples
Another arc bites the dust! And what an ending it is. Brian K. Vaughan finally gives us the reunion we’ve been waiting for and leaves us with a surprise.
Marko, Alana, and Hazel finally reunite! Marko’s crash helm works perfectly, and he’s able to teleport to Landfall and rescue his daughter, just as Noreen is arranging for Hazel to escape. Klara, Marko’s mother, decides to stay behind and let Marko live his life without her acting like a “helicopter” parent. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of her, though. Vaughan’s characters are interesting and memorable, and when we don’t see them for a while, they are truly missed (Lying Cat!).
When we left him last issue, the Will found Squire, and Ghüs and Friendo stood up to him. With his mighty gold ax in hand, Ghüs is the bravest harp seal pup you’ll ever meet—and he has a wicked snarl. (Thank you, Brian K. Vaughan, for creating such an amazing character.) He protects his friends at all costs. Sweet Boy attacks Friendo with tranquilizing darts, and Ghüs slices off the Will’s fingers with his ax. Ouch! The Will retaliates by punching Ghüs on the top of the head. Hazel says, “Even if they’ve never seen it happen, most kids understand that all lives end.” I shrieked. Hazel’s melancholy commentary from the beginning of the issue made me anxious. I thought for sure someone was going to die. But gladly we see Ghüs again a few pages later. He seems a bit disoriented, but he’s still alive. Phew. However, does Hazel’s commentary foreshadow someone else’s death? Not only is the Will seeing the Stalk, he is imagining his sister, the Brand, who talks him down from killing Squire and Ghüs. When he asks her what he’s supposed to do, she convinces him to “go ask the one chick who calls you on your bullshit.” Lying Cat? Gwendolyn? I can’t wait to see them. While the commotion is happening, Upsher and Doff escape the Will’s ship, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll care. This storyline seemed a bit superficial, but I’m excited to see where the Will goes next.
Hazel ends the issue with “. . . it was more interesting to concentrate on the living. Because death is fucking predictable but life has science experiments and free time and surprise naps and who knows what comes next?” And what life is she talking about? Surprise! Alana is pregnant again! Vaughan leaves us with another cliffhanger. They’ve had enough trouble protecting their three-person family. What will happen when they add one more? Alana gets a bit caught up in the pregnancy news, so she doesn’t get the same teary-eyed reunion with Hazel that Marko does. I hope in the next issue she does
Fiona Staples’s art is great, as usual. She complements Vaughan’s story perfectly with her masterful ability to depict a variety of settings. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving Marko’s crash helm. The swirl of reds, oranges, and yellows surrounding the teleportees make the panels feel whimsical and magical. Staples also has a knack for characters’ facial expressions—Hazel’s teary eyes when she sees her father, Ghüs’s snarl when Sweet Boy attacks Friendo, the Will’s downturned mouth and eyes when he admits he misses everybody. They are incredibly moving; you feel what they feel. And again, Staples gives us another visually striking cover. Giant waves crash against the rocks as the Will and Sweet Boy walk away (I assume toward their ship). Staples’s attention to detail, as usual, is remarkable. You can almost feel the cool sea breeze and the sprinkle of water and hear the booming waves hitting the rocks.
Vaughan and Staples put out another great arc. The art throughout has been some of my favorite yet, and Vaughan kept up the pace to keep the story interesting. Vaughan ties up some loose threads in this issue, and Marko, Alana, and Hazel finally reunite. It’ll be interesting to see how the three deal with Alana’s pregnancy in the issues to come. I can’t wait to see some of the characters we’ve been missing. July can’t come too soon!