writer: Jonathan Hickman / artist: Nick Dragotta
After a pretty action heavy and visually stunning issue from last month, Hickman dials back this month for more revelations and political maneuverings. Beginning with the funeral of President Burkhart, it’s quickly revealed that Secretary Chamberlin dispatched of the President amidst the chaos of the summit. I gotta admit that this was really well done as I had to go back and look at issue #12 to remember President Burkhart’s demise and how treacherous Chamberlin was in killing him. It’s a Frank Underwood-type of move and shows that, like Hickman himself, Chamberlin has been playing the long game from the beginning. This issue also focuses a lot on the remaining Horseman as they are adrift by not being able to control the situation on any level. All their plans seem to be derailed in large part because Death is no longer with them. We are starting to see the result of when madness personifies becomes unhinged. It seems to be setting up the confrontation we have all been waiting for, The Horseman vs Death as both parties are trying to find Death’s son, aptly named, the Beast.
Dragotta continues to draw one of the best looking books on the shelves and his shifting between static (yet beautiful) dialogue heavy pages to the large and disturbing splash pages. The visual of how the Ezra and the Message have evolved is about as jarring as it gets in a comic book. Consistently, this is one the most visually stunning comics and even though he might have been given less grandiose things to do this issue, he still does an amazing job.
This issue was back to moving chess pieces around the board, but at least no new characters were introduced for us to keep track of. Not as great as some of the previous issues, but the war has officially begun in earnest with the Nation’s first strike and we seem to be nearing the conflict that was promised from the very beginning of this series.