In Review: Cold War #2

This Cold War isn't hell, it's heaven.

The cover: Previewed on the last page of the premiere, the robotic creatures with human heads for chests let loose with some serious firepower from what looks to be their arms. This is an interesting point of view by Hayden Sherman and I like it. One would expect to see a new villain clearly shown from the front as they begin to mow down the heroes. Instead, Sherman chose to show them from their right side, with their weapons’ fire dominating much of the image. Rather than showing the characters, Sherman smartly shows the death they can deal, because that’s the more pressing issue to the protagonists than what they look like. The colors, also by Sherman, are incredibly striking. The ultra hot orange-red background with the yellow blasts command a reader’s attention instantly. Overall grade: A+

The story: The robot monsters from the cover are the focus of the first page, advancing on the heroes. Realizing that “they’re just heads in a medivat wired to defunct tech, of course they can’t move too well,” John, which is the name Tom Rook is now going by, tells two other revived cryonauts that they need to get moving. He’s stopped by a woman who tells him he’s not in charge, the older woman is. This older woman, Vinh, and John square off, with him relenting to her command if she agrees they just need to be quiet and get moving. She agrees, with the other survivors following her, but John is not a happy camper, muttering his complaints that only he is listening to. As they make their way, Vinh uses her helmet to replay her memories so she can remember her now cloudy past and figure out how she ended up in this position. There’s some solid action in this futuristic mystery, crafted by Christopher Sebela, with Vinh showing she’s as good a fighter as John. Her flashbacks are engaging, almost rivaling the mystery of the hell they’re living through. There is a neat scene with an antagonist on 9 – 11 that teases a few answers and creates some new questions. The dialogue in this issue is really strong, showing the tensions and the uneasy alliances among the characters, with JQ forming a bond with John. The unpredictability of the story is enormously enjoyable. Overall grade: A+

The art and the colors: I’m fairly jaded as a comic book fan. If I can find a book with some visuals that are different from the norm, I’ll definitely check it out. I’m so glad I gave this book a try because I love the work that Hayden Sherman is doing. The heroes, clad in the skin tight black tights, look as though they are a combat squadron of battle hardened soldiers as they try to navigate the horrors of this Dystopian future. All the humans’ faces are snarling in rage as they battle or run away, and when they hold out their weapons they just look flat-out badass. The splotches of yellow on their backs give them a subtle futuristic flair and also look as though they’re targets for the cybernetic villains. The villains of the opening page aren’t as threatening as they seemed in the premiere, and Sherman illustrates them with quick, sharp lines to accentuate their viciousness and ineptitude at fighting. The reveal on 9 – 11 is fantastically sick and looks sensational in the stark coloring it receives. The colors on this book really increase the terror. The present is given oranges and reds, suggesting that every inch of this city contains a threat. The flashbacks are given a sick green, which represents the technology with which memories are presented, as well as how sick some people’s pasts are. My favorite images of the book comes when John and Vinh confront one another and the former is covered in blood. His not wiping it away creates an incredibly tough and frightening character for the reader. This book looks amazing. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Because he’s not doing enough on this book, Hayden Sherman is also the letterer. It’s always a joy to look at lettering for any book when it’s as visually arresting as the art. Sherman creates dialogue, sounds, screams, MemTech helmet speech, a captive’s dialogue, signage, and the tease for next issue. The speech that the MemTech helmets use is sensational. It looks like old school computer font and instantly gives the devices a personality when the reader looks upon it. There are several different sounds and with this much action they’ll be needed. My favorites are when Vinh takes out several foes with pistols and John uses something to stab a villain. The repetition of the sounds make their actions huge. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The strongest reason to read this book is you will not know what’s around the next corner: some robotic monstrosity trying to kill the heroes or a memory that will bring them to their knees. The visuals are also insane with antagonists constructed by an unknown dark god, heroes bathed in ebony darting through a city, and colors that create shocks and horrors. This Cold War isn’t hell, it’s heaven. Overall grade: A+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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