Cal Victus has unleashed the full force of his Graviton Lance upon Solace. Niva and Spry break free of their prison and move to head off Victus while Rand the Galaxian continues his duel with Tor Ajax.
Will the Shapers be able to survive Cal Victus’ onslaught?
Shaper #5 (Dark Horse Comics)
Eric Heisserer and Ace Continuado conclude Shaper in stunning fashion. The citizens of Solace are under attack and they are running for their lives. The imagery Continuado uses is very reminiscent of J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek. However, he has replaced the drill with Victus’ Graviton Lance.
Not only does the destruction of Solace seem imminent, but Heisserer includes a sinister panel with Victus claiming victory. It is a grim beginning that heightens the tension and adds serious risk for our group of heroes. You begin to doubt whether or not they will survive the genocide.
This opening scene sets the stage for an action-packed issue featuring all of our protagonists. The most exciting fight sequence is between Rand the Galaxian and Tor Ajax. There is no love lost between these two. The fight has become so personal it begs for a prequel to detail previous encounters between the two.
There are a few missteps. Heisserer crafts some interesting dialogue detailing Shaper ships, but the image is so far removed in the panel it is actually impossible to tell what the Shapers of Solace are using to defend themselves.
Continuado and Heisserer also seemed to lose some of the creative juices in this final issue. The transformations we see Niva, Kaylen, and Spry take are all ones we have seen before. There aren’t any new, imaginative creatures with different abilities or powers. These people have the abilities of their entire ancestral line and they use the same three or four transformations; it is a little more than disappointing. There was also a panel where Rand the Galaxian’s face looks like it is being buffeted by some strong winds or energy. Half of his face and beard are pushed in. It just looks weird and possibly a little rushed.
Heisserer does an excellent job of keeping the text to a minimum. He doesn’t use any fluff in the dialogue or narration. Every word is used to great effect especially in regards to the dialogue between Spry and Victus. You feel the unshakable willpower of both individuals. The supreme faith and belief in Spry is countered by Victus’ arrogance. Their personalities ooze forth as they combat each other both physically and mentally.
The book flowed extremely well. Heisserer was able to switch back and forth between the characters to great effect, although he might have skimped a little bit with Kaylen and Adagia. I would have liked to have seen their roles highlighted a little bit more. He eventually brings the characters to a convergence leading up to the climax. We get to see them all working together for the first time to challenge a superior foe; it is exciting seeing their different skills and abilities used in concert with each other.
Is It Good?
Shaper #5 is an action-packed ending to a very fun space opera. Eric Heisserer continues to honor the roots of the story with plenty of similarities to Star Wars. Heisserer’s transitions are top notch, keeping the pace of the book flowing and exciting, jumping back and forth between the main characters as they take part in the Battle of Solace. There were some downsides to the issue. There was a lack of imagination with the use of the Shapers’ transformations. They continued to be the same ones we have already seen. It was also difficult to tell what the Shapers were doing to defend their home planet outside of the main cast.
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