In brief, the traitor is revealed, and in the final confrontation, falls defeated and makes one last-ditch effort in the kind of “if I can’t have it, no one can” tactic. It’s difficult to discuss this book at all without spoilers, so consider the Spoiler Level at Red Alert. It’s not a spoiler, however, to point out that yet again, after four months, the main character-slash-focal character-slash-meant-to-be-endearing and empathetic girl remains nameless. Thus, let’s call her It the Living Starfield Background for purposes of this review, and say more about her later.
Without giving too much away, it’s also safe to say that the art shows a remarkable improvement over the previous issues regarding the staging and storytelling. As I’ve said before, I tend to think it may be a fault of the script, in that there is either too much being staged or what’s staged is being rushed too much, and for whatever reason this issue relaxes a bit. After all, there’s only a few key beats— the reveal, the take-down, and the cliffhanger. So visually at least the storytelling remains well-laid out. Such as when It gives out her gifts one by one or a few parallel set-ups like Nico’s expression changing or Loki’s face turning defiant in her defeat.
Although there are a couple of weird places. Like when It the Living Starfield is running, but the only thing that changes is a background. Or when a giant rock monster is grown, holds She-Hulk, apparently eats her, and has her burst from his groin all in the space of one double-page spread. Or when She-Hulk grabs Loki’s coat and then— I’m not sure. Either the coat turns into snakes or snakes burst from Loki’s shoulder or otherwise they spontaneously generate in a swarm around her hand.
It is a humorous touch for She-Hulk to pin Loki down by jamming her hat’s horns into the pavement around her. Not sure if that’s really feasible at all, but it’s humorous enough to earn a pass.
Other plot elements that are more significant, however, won’t get such leeway. We get an answer as to why She-Hulk thought there was a traitor— she saw rainbows when she went through a portal. Or, more accurately, she went through a portal and realized it was magic, Asgardian magic, and fueled by the Rainbow Bridge. I’m not sure if tautologous reasoning was in She-Hulk’s law school or not, but that’s some pretty circular logic. So *obviously* that means that Loki is a traitor “[tearing] holes in the very heart of our island” Q.E.D. But rather than do anything about it, She-Hulk continues to be vague until she says “rainbows” and waits to let everyone else figure out the same idea that “the Loki did it.”
Because, of course it’s Loki. Because, Loki. That’s pretty much the whole justification of the reveal, too. If the story of A-Force was to be a mystery from the start, there are a few things missing, like motivations and reversals not to mention clues or red herrings until a satisfying reveal. Instead the light bulb flips on and everyone teleports to where she is so they can all fight. To be fair, there is some motivation on Loki’s part as she monologues to some of the Thors that helped her for some reason. Well, the reason is simple, I guess. She wants to take over the world. Which, okay. It doesn’t have to be more sophisticated, but the simplicity makes it a bit underwhelming.
If it’s not spectacle enough, don’t worry. There’s a big double page spread that promises some zombie horde action next issue. If only the heroes had a big girl-shaped starfield that could swallow up all the zombies and deposit them somewhere else!
While not as messy as the previous issues, this one is still a bit lackluster in that it plays to the obvious. It’s all pretty straightforward, though, with nothing to complicate the action and the “big traitor takedown,” presented with some nice punching action for all our heroes. As always, it’s the expressions and relationships that are nice, even if the world and its villain remain superficial. Let’s hope these strengths continue so the series can wrap up on a high note.