Having been around for 25 issues now, Brian K. Vaughn takes us back to the beginning and shows us more detail on the event that started it all, the war between Landfall and Wreath. But is this a good way to tell the story? Especially after yet another long wait between arcs? Let’s find out.
This is told through the eyes of a future version of Hazel, recounting how her history really began. But because of this, we really start off the arc a bit slowly, where, at least those of us who have been with the series since the beginning, get a long recap that teaches us very little that is actually new.
The problem I have is that, now that Alana and Marko are broken up, the story seems to have too many irons in the fire. It was bad enough when you had the story of Alana, Marko and Hazel on one side and then the story of Gwendolyn, Sophie and The Brand on the other, and these two stories had little to do with one another. Now you have three distinct stories that he’s telling and I honestly spent most of my time wondering what was going on with the other two, rather than being able to focus on what was going on in the central storyline.
Then you get to Marko’s increasing drug addiction and I pretty much have no respect for him. Yes, I understand that he’s gone through a lot, but he’s stopped being someone that I care about all that much. He reminds me of a friend of mine and how he roleplays his characters. He abuses the crap out of them. They get kicked around to extreme degrees, just for the sake of beating them down and it was never long before I lost all respect for his characters. They stopped being heroic and started being assholes. I like taking assholes and making them heroic a lot more than taking heroes and making them assholes and that’s really what Vaughn has done with Marko.
This whole arc is character development. That’s not a bad thing but you need balance. You can develop your characters and keep the story moving forward and most of this arc just comes to a screeching halt plot-wise while Vaughn and Staples focus on the characters themselves. You have to have both but you have to have both at the same time, especially with the long breaks between arcs. I’m not really that invested in seeing what happens when the series comes back because not a whole lot of interest happened this time around. We got to see Alana and Marko fall apart, but they were back together by the end, just as I knew they would be. There are elements here that are likely to be important in the long term, but I’d rather have seen it intermixed with a more exciting story. It’s one of those stories that was good, but should have been much better. I guess they can’t all be winners.