When we last left Gina and the agents of MI-666, they had been cornered by a demonic creature. How will they get out of this one, and what does it have to do with a group that sells possessions like they’re timeshares?
We get more information on Gina’s past, showing her as ill-adjusted and growing up in the foster care system. It’s obvious that Gina has had a chip on her shoulder from a young age, but this issue gives us a better sense of her dark side. Why wouldn’t a kid who’s been stepped on for years want to push back, especially if she discovered she had the ability to do so? Triona Farrell bathes this flashback in purple tones, giving it an altogether different feel from the rest of the book, but still making it very clear that this is the same Gina we’ll come to know.
Following that flashback, this issue hits the ground running with a tense action sequence between the agents and this beast. It doesn’t last too long, but it’s still exciting and appropriately messy. This issue as a whole moves at a much faster clip than previous installments, giving us a much closer look at the world of evil investigated by Section 26.
This issue delves further into the concept of people getting paid to be possessed, allowing demons to take a bit of a joy ride in their bodies. It’s a fascinating concept, one that it seems this series will get a bit of mileage from in further stories. It’s also interesting to see all of the different ways Corin Howell illustrates possession. Sometimes it’s a change in one’s demeanor, but other times a full-on physical transformation occurs. It allows the reader to easily chart just how much danger the characters are in at any given point during a confrontation.
There are actually a zillion new concepts introduced to the series in this issue, and it can get a little overwhelming. Luckily, Gina’s sense of humor carries a lot of that through. In fact, whenever you think the book has introduced something you’ve seen before, Cavan Scott’s script cleverly lampshades that by having Gina take the piss out of it. This helps to keep every aspect of the book feeling fresh, even if a few aspects can seem slightly familiar.
The only parts where this issue stumbles is when similar gags from previous issues are reused. At this point, yes, it’s become clear that Gina really doesn’t enjoy seeing Coyle chow down on dead demons. Her snark just feels a little less enjoyable when she repeats herself. However, it is understandable that this is how the character is coping with an entirely insane turn of events.
Gina’s sarcasm also helps to break up the onslaught of exposition throughout parts of the issue. There’s a big info-dump in the middle that is made much more fun by her constant interjections and asides. The whole mission briefing sequence is reminiscent of an M/Bond scene, right down to the agent in question being nearly too smart for their own good.
Like all good spy fiction, Shadow Service knows just how to keep the reader on their toes. The issue culminates in yet another twist that leaves the reader chomping at the bit to see what comes next.
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