Writers: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing / Artists: Nathan Gooden, Vittorio Astone / Vault Comics
At the end of my review of Issue #1, I said that the story of this comic would be what Shannon, our main character, does with her strength of will. I was totally right! This entire issue centers on how Shannon’s strength, when she teaches it to the newly evolving Zoja, leads down a particular path of development, one with unanticipated consequences.
The issue opens with the Zoja, now a self-aware race, listening to Shannon as she explains the basics of how she came to be on the planet.
Shannon, now just Shan, goes on teach them how to defend themselves, how to fight off predators, how to show compassion. But she’s aware of her time skipping, so she knows she’ll be gone soon. Her growing sense of responsibility for the Zoja, along with her melancholy that at some unknown point she will always be dragged forward, give Shan a deep emotional tension. How long will she be gone? What will have happened? She’s attached to these aliens now, they consciously fill in for what she’s lost on Earth, her son and family, so she pours everything into them.
On her next return, she meets The Keep, the leader of the Zoja. She’s a god now for them, the law-bringer, though she maintains that she is both teacher and student.
Then another jump. One that tests the doctrine of strength that she’s taught the Zoja, and that tests her role as ever-returning god.
One of the most interesting things about the comic is that Shannon doesn’t second guess her role as god to the Zoja, she has no angst about an undeserved position. She accepts it as it is and does her best with it. No hand wringing. Her sense of self and awareness of why she does what she does is refreshing in a comic world usually defined by the brooding hero. These are her children and she does right by them. Scattered throughout are flashbacks to her life on Earth, telling her history in snippets. But her history isn’t important yet, but maybe it will be.
The art remains stunningly unique, with Shannon’s humanity in stark contrast to the weird pink hues of the alien Zoja. Between the two extremes are all blues and yellows, with just enough black to call attention to the details. It quite well done.
This comic isn’t exactly action packed, but the meditation on responsibility, and indeed parenthood, combined with the fascinating discovery of the world, makes up for that.