Written by Warren Ellis
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & John Kalisz
Tensions mount between Skywatch and IO as both become aware of the others treachery. Alliances begin to shift as the players examine their odds of survival.
What You Need to Know: Having new perspective, Angie Spica accepts Adrianna’s invitation of asylum. Christine Trelaine attempts to broker a deal of her own by recruiting the terminally ill Michael Cray and his services on behalf of Executive Protection Services. Before an agreement can be reached, an ominous knock on the door announces trouble as I.O. director Miles Craven knows better than to leave loose ends untied.
What You’ll Find Out: Michael Cray is a liability and IO knows it. The former operative knows too much. He is also an invaluable asset and Christine Trelaine knows it. The information he can provide during his time with her rival provides an opportunity too good to pass on. Both make a play at the same time. IO deploys a two-person Warblade unit to take out the high risk Craven in a gruesome fight that ends in blood and a new alliance. Trelaine secures Craven’s employment as Mike knows he is a marked man fresh out of allies and options.
Adrianna returns with her own target secured and and the Engineer is seemingly amiable to a new arraignment of her own. Shortly after arrival, Jacob Marlowe gives Spica further understanding of the various factions at play. Marlowe explains that IO and Skywatch are more than just influences but in fact the concealed supremacy as all other governing bodies are merely figureheads which divert attention allowing them to work without scrutiny or consequence. IO believes they hold primary value with Earth and its resources in their possession and thus abdicated space and its unknown qualities to Skywatch through a tenuous accord. On the surface, both organizations appear to act in concert with one another but in fact harbor many secrets and actions. If revealed the agreement between the two primary authorities could breakdown and pit one against the other openly. Marlowe seemingly wins over Spica’s elusive trust and asks her if she will remain with the man and his CATS.
The story looks upward as Ms. Pennington delivers new information to Skywatch lead Henry Bendix. Asserting that “old is beautiful,” the weatherman’s feigned indigence is dismissed quickly and replaced with ire realizing the magnitude in which IO has violated their long-standing pact and determines to answer their transgressions with force.
What Just Happened? Frankly, not a lot. But that seems to be the constant in Ellis’ method of storytelling. As in previous issues, all action is relegated to the initial pages followed by more staging and world building. The confrontation between Michael Cray and the Warblade units left me disappointed. Though the reader understands by now the core of what Wildstorm was has been entirely discarded, the reference of Warblade is really pointless as there is no recognition in terms of the names origin here. The two are nothing more than goons with nothing in common to the shape changing clawed predecessor.
Though I find Hunt’s art to be a bit cartoonish for my taste I do recognize his strength in conveying energy in action sequences. The unfortunate part is that Ellis’s lengthy elaborations act as a leash which is constantly snapping backward and thwarting Hunt’s ability to aid Ellis’ clunky delivery.
Warren Ellis has also spent two issues now recounting who each party is, their function, and motives. Marlowe’s interaction with Spica is redundant and having already covered their roles in previous issues by Miles Cray. The only difference here is the second recount is conveyed marginally better than the first time and includes only slightly updated information but ultimately serves as pointless diatribe.
Final Thought: Warren Ellis is engaged in his own game of chess with the reader. Instead of moving for checkmate despite all the pieces being in place, he continues to feign action resulting in real development. I am hoping now that the cantankerous Bendix has been triggered the story will move forward and balance will be struck between action and dialog.