Another trademark of a detective story is the treacherous insider—because solving cases isn’t hard enough without someone you trust selling you out. Gumshoes are by tradition solitary people, and these betrayals only seem to further emphasize their loneliness. This is an important point for Bodies, in which most of our detectives are already outsiders. With so few allies, the loss of even one has that much more emotional impact.

Maybe all this talk is a bit premature. Although Edmond gets caught in a pretty damning position by his fellow constables, it’s not clear whether it’s his co-inspector who set him up. Indeed, it’s Edmond who takes the risk of hanging around Longharvest and catching the attention of another “mandrake,” though it’s worth noting that moments earlier, he came on way too strong in protesting his co-inspector’s indifference to the Longharvest murders.

It’s also too early to say that Barber, Shahara’s paramour, is plotting against her even as he tries to get into her pants.* There’s a tense moment between them, suspiciously preceded by Barber’s remark, “You know that you’re loved, right?” And the body she found in #1 disappears from the mortuary, leaving only the Mithros brand behind in its place and suggesting an insider job. It’s looking bad for Barber, especially since there aren’t any major characters left in her storyline.

There’s even more ambiguity in regards to Bounce’s dealings with Maplewood. She clearly knows more than she’s letting on to the addled detective, and she’s already attacked Maplewood once. But she’s also the one leading Maplewood to answers, though none the detective has the capacity to appreciate. That shot Bounce injected her with last issue did bring them in contact with one of the other detectives, and her merry chase through Maplewood’s HQ reveals spheres of crucial info, some about the world before the Pulsewave (“cyberwar,” “gravity-defying bomb-ships,” “population reached thirteen billion”), others with huge implications for the story (“trials show the Pulsewave is harmless to animals,” “Interpol datafile KYAL,” “Margaret Belwood, seven counts of terrorism…status fugitive”).

This suggests Maplewood is the one responsible for this ruined London, which evidently is not as unpopulated as it seems. As a “cavalcade of amnesiacs” approaches, Bounce comments, “Here comes the Long Harvest,” which means we’re due to find out exactly what that ominous phrase means.

It’s perfect timing on Spencer’s part that at this halfway point in the mini, the signs are in place that he’s knitting his ambitious mystery together in preparation for its big resolution. Just as #2
saw a boy from Maplewood’s era allude to the past, the fortuneteller in Edmond’s raves hysterically about the future: “The bogman, the brooch and the maiden in the veil…the Longharvest is coming!” The brooch is yet another motif specially featuring in this issue, an item that freaks out Charles when it appears in the loot he skims off the gangsters and which Shahara identifies as a Roman antique in a British Museum catalogue. And then there’s an oldie but goodie: when Shahara goes to the mortuary to take a second look at her body, she identifies it as “File KYAL.” Just where is that acronym coming from?

Each artist does his/her usual good work, though I’d say Hetrick’s work, being conventional as it is, almost gets lost among the more distinctive styles of her peers. Lotay’s limitations have never been clearer; her depiction of Maplewood running is quite awkward, looking more like an instruction manual figure on how to run. But Lotay also has the right art for Maplewood’s topsy-turvy world, drawing inspiration from James Ensor in drawing the Long Harvest, a massive crowd of whackos wearing mime faces, masks, fake crowns, or nothing at all.

– Minhquan Nguyen

 

Grade

B+

Conclusion

All these patterns in the clues are deliciously frustrating, like feeling an answer on the tip of your tongue.Some Musings: * I'd be rather disappointed if he turned out to be a villain in this series, however. Call me a sappy liberal, but I love cross-cultural romances.