The existential superhero series comes to its conclusion as Antepenultiman and Preantepenultiman come together to put Penultiman himself on trial. The charge: holding homo sapiens in contempt, as well as emotional crimes against himself. How will the hero plead?
As if that wasn’t enough, as an AHOY comic the book comes with back up extras. This month sees two prose pieces accompany the main book’s chapter. “Oliver’s Terrible Day” by Blake Nail and “Lesser-Known Horrific Storms” by John Ficcara are more humorous tales than the main introspective story.
The conclusion can often be the most difficult part of a comic to land. As a series, Penultiman has tackled various ‘real life’ feelings that superheroes often don’t get a chance to comment on. Peyer and Robinson have managed to bring everything together in a satisfying way that still leaves readers dangling off the edge of their seat.
It feels so rare these days that an ongoing story can still manage to be surprising, but Pentultiman has done it. With no spoilers, this book goes in a direction that readers likely aren’t expecting. While this pays off the arc of the series it also does more than its fair share of work to generate interest in a sequel.
Beyond Peyer’s fantastic script, there’s a lot of Robinson’s art that’s just a joy to look at. One particular double page spread gives him the chance to show off. A trial might not sound like the most interesting thing for a comic to depict, yet somehow the creative team have made this a pretty book to look at.
For a story as “deep” as this is, it’s great that the backups at the end almost balance out the emotional spectrum. The main chapter does leave readers with a deep exhale, but both extras are short, sharp pieces that produce a giggle. Balance isn’t something one ordinarily considers when thinking about a comic book, but Penultiman #5 is a varied book.
What is there to complain about? If you really wanted to look a gift horse in the mouth, you could point out that there are only two extras instead of the usual three. But if you were to say that you should really read those backups first before you comment. Genuinely, there’s little to nit-pick here.
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