Still reeling from Gina’s apparent betrayal, Aashi and Quill are in a race to bring her down. Of course, this being Shadow Service, readers can expect things to get a little crazier than a simple motorcycle chase.
Cavan Scott makes the interesting choice to kick off this second story arc by moving away from Gina Meyers almost entirely. Up until now, Gina has been the character that readers have followed most closely, and aside from the look at Quill‘s history in issue #5, she’s the person who has received the most background. Therefore, it’s been much easier to sympathize with her, even as she’s made some questionable decisions.
Switching from the spunky and sarcastic Gina to the hollow and dour Aashi not only helps to humanize the least human member of MI-666, but it allows readers to see how Gina’s rash choices effects the larger world of mystical espionage. It also makes for an interesting tonal shift, which emphasizes the darker side of Hex and his machinations.
The chase sequence that makes up the bulk of this issue is thrilling. Yet again, Corin M. Howell and Tríona Farrell get to flex their spooky muscles with some bonkers monster designs. Here, the real star of the show is the demonic figure on horseback that shows up partway through. Not only does the tentacle-looking mane on the horse give me the willies, but its otherworldly blueish hue makes it stand out even more from the normal cityscape. There’s a real sense of speed in this chase, which is made all the more visceral when someone inevitably wipes out (though I won’t spoil who it is).
There are also a few panels that remind the reader how much of a toll this whole debacle has taken on Gina. Although she doesn’t get too much to do in this issue, her sunken eyes speak volumes.
The yellows used in Aashi’s flashback scenes have a kind of antiseptic quality to them, like the rooms and her relationships have become as lifeless as she has. There’s something truly and innately sad about these peeks into her backstory, which go a long way towards explaining why she has been the most difficult member of the team to get a feel for in previous issues.
This was certainly an unexpected way to kick off a new story arc. While the modern day section of the story didn’t get much in the way of forward momentum, learning more about Aashi came as a welcome surprise.
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