The Short Version: We’re coming down to it, now. Spider’s disease is progressing and the Smiler’s efforts to wipe out all of his political adversaries is moving even faster. But after Mitchell Royce recovers some information thought lost and Spider catches onto a possible scandal, the outlaw journalist publishes perhaps his most potent story just before the lights go out.
The Review: This installment of the Transmet saga feels like the coil of a punch. The release is coming, but this is the moment before, as both sides tense up and muscles begin to prep themselves before the mind gives them the go-ahead. Shit is about to hit the fan in a big way – and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens.
I will say this: the story does start off on slightly uncertain footing. The first two issues seem somewhat unconnected – more background than anything else. We know Spider is pissed and we know Callahan is basically destroying the lives of everyone in the City just to get back at him… so do we need to find that out again? That first installment, where they visit the Vita Severin Memorial and see that basically the whole reclamation site is just the most awful refuse heap… it’s powerful but it lacks that extra touch because we already know. We are ready for Spider to kick ass and it doesn’t seem like he needed that extra push. And the last dance of Fred Christ, although it does set up the hooker reveal, felt a little bit like bringing back an old favorite as the clock winds down.
Not that I mind, because by the same metric, I should dislike Royce’s one-shot where he gets all editor-supreme and kicks some journalistic ass himself. But I didn’t – on the contrary, I really quite enjoyed it. The shot of his desktop with a mocking image of Spider was enough to make that whole issue worth it, actually – but it was nice to be reminded that Spider and the filthy assistants aren’t the only ones capable of doing incredible things. There are other people who can do it too – they’re just bound by a tighter rope than our outlaws.
Speaking of bondage, I’m quite impressed with how squeaky-close it was for Spider to get out of the trap Callahan was laying for him. We know something is about to go down – Robertson’s panels give us full-bore destruction with no words from Ellis and so we end up with this shaky unease. At first, maybe you think they’re going after Spider – and the cop car outside would seem to support that. But when he’s still writing and things start blowing up, you start to wonder what the hell else is happening – and when it comes out, there’s a real frantic underground sense of “holy crap, did they miss the boat?”
But, of course, they didn’t.
And that last panel? Oh man, I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Rating: 4 out of 5. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed this installment and only found a few little nitpicks at the start… there’s only so much time you can spend waiting for that bell to ring. And this entire installment is the moment, not even the second but the split-second, before it does – that sort of drawn-out tension is spectacular but let’s just say I’m quite glad I have the final installment on hand. You wouldn’t want to let this cliffhanger sit any longer than absolutely necessary.