Part two of the new story arc is finally here and this time it’s not a flashback! Rick Remender returns us to the place where it all began for the Caine family: Salus, the city of hope. Let’s dive in and see how things are going in the city we haven’t seen since the first story arc.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Publisher: Image Comics
Official Image synopsis:
“OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,” Part Two Tajo returns to Salus to find a city on the brink of death, clinging to life. The Caines’ struggle to lift humanity out of the depths is far from over…
Without fail, Greg Tocchini delivers the reader to a place of pure awe in each and every issue. The words surreal and beautiful will repeat often in your mind as you work your way through this tale. We’re shown a futuristic world beneath the sea filled with flying cars, grand cityscapes and strange technology that somehow evolves from a place of wild science fiction to reality. As per usual Tocchini’s unique style puts on an amazing display. The opening and closing pages are utterly fantastic.
Dave McCaig is the partner Tocchini needs to truly bring this world to life. Without McCaig’s color work the art wouldn’t be as strong as it is. The first page we see Tajo in sticks out as an example of why McCaig is so good–the color used masterfully visualizes Tajo’s emotions as she wistfully reminiscences of her sister, her childhood and her dreams. We’ve seen purple associated with Tajo since her first post-abduction appearance, so it’s nice to see it finally given meaning.
We start off the issue by revisiting one of the biggest cliffhangers from Shore of the Dying Light, Tajo’s fate. On waking Tajo finds herself back in her home city where it all began. Despite her wounds being bound, Tajo’s in arguably more danger than when we previously left her. The city is on the verge of collapse due to dwindling resources and the systems that produce oxygen are failing. To make matters even worse, Lena has survived and is hell bent on destroying the city and everyone in it.
Two unexpected faces make a return, with one of them being Tajo’s savior. Mertali has returned to save, serve and protect her third Caine family member. I had completely forgotten about this character so it was a pleasant surprise to see her again when I least expected it.
I knew we’d see IO again, but I didn’t think we’d see him so soon. I suppose this is what I get for doubting Remender when he started a new arc (issue 16) with a flashback and new character. Nonetheless as with Mertali it’s a nice surprise return. IO rounds out the team of Mertali and Tajo, using his advanced technical capabilities to try and help them save the city.
As with the previous issue, this was a setup story. The big difference however is that the last issue had action, and this one has none. Despite that, I really enjoyed reading this comic. Though if I’m being completely honest, I’ve been spoiled by the nonstop action we were fed through the previous arc and was a bit disappointed by the lack here. I can’t take any points away from Remender though, as the setup was quickly and efficiently done. The next issue looks quite simply awesome and I can’t wait to see Tajo, IO and Mertali venture into the Roach Lands. If you go into the Roach Lands you die. Sounds fun.
It’s anyone’s guess whether Della intended to leave Tajo to die or tried to force her into a situation where her only choice was to help herself and become stronger. It doesn’t matter much at this point, as neither situation occurred and for the time being Della is out of the picture. That being said, Tajo is about to find herself in exactly that scenario–but this time it’s not just her life on the line, it’s the entire city of Salus.
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