In Review: Cold War #3

A super trippy tale whose scope constantly grows in a savage scale.

The cover: One of the reawakened soldiers picks up a helmet. It’s covered in blood and has the name John on it. Could this be the helmet of the series’ protagonist? Has he been killed or is he one retrieving the helmet? There’s only one way to find out: buy this book! Great image with the colors being absolutely striking. This is another winning frontpiece from artist Hayden Sherman. Overall grade: A+

The story: All the survivors are woken from their slumber by a large pinging robot with many tentacles. They quickly make for cover and watch as the thing gathers one of their fallen members in its many limbs. Vinh goes for her weapon but is quickly told to stop when one person identifies it as a garbageman, a robot that collects corpses. With the thing gone with its prize, John goes to lie back down, activating the memories in his MemTech helmet. It’s here that writer Christopher Sebela shows what John did before he was frozen: he was a hired killer. His devastation is shown, growing in its scale, ending with him shown having a family, a normal life at home, using the cover of a salesman to be a regular guy. Just as he remembers sitting down for a meal with his happy wife and happy daughter there’s an explosion that rouses him. He pulls his gun on instinct, but there’s no one around him. He sees that everyone is looking out through a boarded up window at something occurring beyond his view. He asks why Vinh didn’t wake him and that’s where the problems start. He and Vinh started having issues last issue, but now they’ve intensified. As John is coming to terms with Vinh, the focus of the issue shifts to LQ and she’s got an incredible backstory. In addition to that, she’s doing something in the present that reveals why they’ve been awoken and why they’re fighting against so many robotic threats. The revelations she discovers would have been enough to end this issue satisfactorily, but the issue continues for three more pages with the conflict between two characters reaching a shocking climax. Then the final four panels throw that climax to the wind with a surprise that upends everything. I really like books that constantly surprise the reader and this one continually does that. This is great. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: Hayden Sherman’s style is unique and I am in love with it. The look of this book really brings the gritty, apocalyptic story to life. The garbageman that opens the book looks somewhat similar to the tripods from the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds film, though it has several limbs, like the Sentinels in The Matrix movies. It’s entirely in black with several red highlights, giving it an uber creepy vibe. The flashbacks in this book are in a vivid greens, giving them a digital feel — that goes along with it being MemTech technology — but also an aged tone. Using so many greens allows the oranges that are used for narration boxes, sounds, and violent actions to truly stand out on the page. The layout of the bottom two-thirds of the second page is a neat way to show John on his back and his memories playing out. The change of colors between Pages 3 and 4 is jarring for the reader, just as the gigantic sound is to John. I like that the colors have gone an intense red on 4 – 6 to amplify the intensity of the characters’ argument. The entrance in and out of the MemTech memories plays out wonderfully due to the coloring and the horizontal lines that cross certain elements of the panel to remind the reader the visuals are digitally playing in a character’s mind. My favorite pages of the issue are 16 and 17; they are shocking in the scale of what’s shown and the colors increase their horror. The small circular panels that overlap some of the images on 17 are fabulous, because they bring the story back to LQ and their colors are so different from what’s overwhelming the pages. The final four panels of the issue have jaw-dropping imagery not for their scale, but for what’s shown. The story makes this action completely out of left field and Sherman’s visuals make it even more bizarre. I completely enamored by the look of this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Not only the artist and colorist, Hayden Sherman is also the book’s letterer. He creates this issue’s sounds, dialogue and narration (the same font), the dialogue of the MemTech helmets, and computer text. I usually grouse in reviews on letterers using the same font for the narration and dialogue, and I admit to not being thrilled with it here, but I’m so wowed by the unique font used for MemTech helmets and the AI voice, I don’t feel as grouchy. I love when text for a computer looks like old school computer font, and that’s definitely the case with this book. Overall grade: A

The final line: A super trippy tale whose scope constantly grows in a savage scale. Recommended for lovers of dystopias, war stories, sci-fi, or edgy visuals. This book is just awesome. 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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