by Simon Spurrier (Writer), Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung (Artists), Jose Villarrubia (Colorist)
The Story: Every tale deserves an ending, however bittersweet it can be.
The Review: Everything that is good eventually end. Life, a good meal, a decent drink, a superb song, everything that deserves to be cherished and loved has to conclude eventually. It is a rule that not everyone is ready to accept, especially in the world of cape comics, yet it is something that rings true. To enjoy something is to know when to quit it, in a way.
Thus, it is with that very lesson that I look at this issue, which is the conclusion of this weird, yet beloved series. Simon Spurrier, in the span of 24 issues, succeeded in telling a complete story featuring a character that had been rather loathed and spun a tale about living up to someone’s expectation, the burden of mental illness, goals and life, love and a great many deals of other themes. It took chances, it went in a decidedly unique direction and it didn’t necessarily featured the most popular artists, yet there is a certain achievement in this series that made it very enjoyable. However, does Spurrier manage to give this series the ending it deserved?
In many ways, Spurrier goes out with a bang with this tale, going away without forgetting to give a final shout-out to many of the strongest ideas of his run. The final narration of David and how he reacts to what he might have to do in order to save himself and the world is a thing of beauty, with a certain introspection combined with a certain sense of realization that comes as hard to read, yet in a good way for those invested in the character. The finality, the emotions and the way he just deals with the whole thing makes for a superb conclusion to his whole character arc.
However, while this has been mostly about David, it has also been about his general quest on how to make the world better for mutants, his relationship with his girlfriend Blindfold and how he might actually live up to the legacy of his father. In a way, Spurrier manages to finish up most of the plot threads in this issue, giving them a finality that not only make sense, but also doesn’t necessarily play by the rules of cape comics. The speech of David on what legacy is and how he could have lived to his father’s ideal is a thing of beauty, with comes full circle with the series as a whole. Not every series manage to make its points matters but also resonate with the readers and the evolution of its main character in a way that actually work in the context of its themes and its tone.
Where it might lose some is in how it actually ends. While there is a certain air of disappointment to just how David solves the problems related to him and his approach to things, Spurrier makes his case very well in a way that feels meta-textual, yet not so much that it destroys what the characters says and what the story was all about in the first place. It is certainly a bittersweet ending, with a certain dose of reality meshing with surrealism that makes it all the more resonating and profound. To trigger such a reaction from readers shows a great handle on emotional response to storytelling, which is what Spurrier does in this issue.
Where it could also falter for some is with the art of Craig Yeung and Tan Eng Huat, which is as psychedelic as ever. While he has never been the best when it comes to human-looking character, this issue really plays to Huat’s strengths as an artist, playing with chaotic layout, crazy designs and a general psychotic approach to details and elements that amount to particularly effective storytelling when it comes down to David Haller and his introspection in his own psyche. The balance between huge scope in the real world and more inventive and dynamic panels in David’s mind make for a superb contrast between the perceived and the realistic. However, despite all this chaos in terms of visuals, Huat never forget to bring out the focus on the human parts, which he somehow manage to make work despite some of his wonky lines and expressions. With an almost pitch perfect pacing, a fluid storytelling and a definitely powerful approach to emotions and expressions, Huat is at the top of his game here.
Also great here is Jose Villarrubia with his color work. Participating completely with the psychedelic approach of both Huat and Yeung, there is an extreme range of colors on display, with a display of diversity that borders on the insane. With some very complex shading as well as layers and a palette that seems out of this world, the colors resonate with the tones in a way that shouldn’t. To be so weird and complex in his approach, yet also utterly personal and technical in his contrast shows a mastery that not every colorist can boast about. It’s bright, it’s insane, but it’s also perfect for this book.
The Conclusion: Concluding most of everything in ways that resonates with the themes introduced and the readers, the story of David Haller and his attempt at matching the impact of his father comes to a powerful, beautiful, yet rather disheartening end in this issue. Memorable, with a great style in terms of art and colorization, this is the kind of ending any good series should try to match.
Hugo Robberts Larivière