Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Cafu and Juan Jose Ryp with Francis Portela
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Can Babel be defeated?
What You Need To Know:
A ragtag band of heroes have entered the realm known as the Deadside, and are battling to prevent the sorcerer Babel invading the Liveside (heaven). If Babel is able to his Tower to invade the Liveside, the fabric of reality itself will be torn apart!
What You’ll Find Out
Shadowman has fallen sway to Babel’s lies, and must decide once and for all: Is he a hero, or is he just a victim who wants to get rid of his Loa? Meanwhile, Tama the Geomancer will reveal why she needed Shadowman along for the ride…
What Just Happened?
For all the interesting concepts Matt Kindt wove into Rapture, the sad truth is that the finale just doesn’t quite work. It kicks off with a mysterious act of treachery, and the whole Tower of Babel comes crashing down. We get a fun scene in which Punk Mambo is using her Loa to hold the rubble up, a clear homage to a classic scene from Marvel’s Secret Wars, in which the Hulk held up a mountain. From there, though, the narrative becomes confusing; we get a glimpse of the Liveside, before learning that Shadowman has somehow “done it.” Suddenly Babel is back in the Deadside, and he’s ultimately restrained by magic seeds that had never appeared in the story before.
Kindt’s script explains everything with a “ten minutes ago” section, revealing just what happened on the Liveside and explaining where the seeds came from. I’ve got to say that I’ve never liked this approach to a narrative; deliberately introducing a deus ex machina like the seeds is frustrating, the fact it’s explained in a flashback so not even teased earlier? It just doesn’t quite work, and you can’t help feeling as though Kindt wrote himself into a corner a little.
Attentive readers will have noted an odd contradiction; Babel almost triumphed because Shadowman was on the mission. Had he not been on board, the heroes would have won far more easily. And yet, Tama foretold that Shadowman was needed on the mission, and that they couldn’t succeed without him. Kindt adds a final panel to explain this; Tama’s goal was never actually to stop Babel. Instead, she figures the “point of the entire chapter” was to force Shadowman to come to a measure of peace with his Loa. This is actually a nice twist, and there’s a level of meta-awareness as Tama explains it. It feels as though Kindt is making sure his audience gets it, and using Tama as his mouthpiece to explain this arc’s purpose.
The artistic team is performing well throughout, and Kindt’s script challenges them – moving from the Deadside to the Liveside, and back again. There’s a literal flood that’s well rendered, while the battle of the Loas is stunning. Artistically, this is a strong book, with some stand-out action sequences.
All in all, something of a disappointing conclusion to an interesting arc.