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The Displaced #3
BOOM! Studios

Comic Books

‘The Displaced’ #3 sucks you in further with big emotions and measured strikes

The third issue of ‘The Displaced’ will lift you up and smash your heart.

In my review of issue #2, I likened The Displaced to Lost. Sure, the creative team (writer Ed Brisson, artist Luca Casalanguida, and colorist Dee Cunnife) aren’t relying on smoke monsters, but they’re clearly striking at the same ideas of community and interpersonal dynamics amid some extra kooky circumstances.

But with the third issue, a character makes an even more relevant comparison with Lord of the Flies, which more succinctly encapsulates the hugely compelling things that this book is accomplishing midway through its five-issue arc.

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I think Flies is the more relevant comparison because it clearly speaks to the bitter rivalries and personal politics that defined issue #3. After learning in #2 that 1) the group must stick together to survive and 2) no one else remembers them after they’re out of their field of vision, the survivors of Oshawa, Ontario have begun to break into sub-groups.

Without spoiling too much, we get those who want to survive without making too much noise and those who’d rather use their new “abilities” to carve out a place. And that dynamic begins to foster some near-palpable tension across this book, and we’re delving into some new territory as this book more deliberately explores ideas of community, memory, and shared trauma. There’s still some development to do, but I think the still-simmering clash will be effective, with heaps of stakes and inherent drama attached. Even as we get some really great potential fights and confrontations already in #3, there’s still that unwavering focus on how deeply personal everyone responds to their predicament. It’s about giving space to these characters to feel and respond and not just use them as props in some giant conflict with metaphysical undertones.

The Displaced

The Displaced #3 variant cover by Declan Shalvey. Courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

But even without looking at the dynamics between the two groups of survivors, there’s still heaps of interpersonal conflict within this issue. Emmett and Gabby, who seem to be as close to leads as we’ll get, have a small but mighty window together in issue #3. It’s their convo that speaks to some of the pure emotionality at the heart of this book — that sense of feeling lost and isolated, and how we yearn for connection in a world that doesn’t always make that easy. (Their convo also hinted at some spiritual undertones, and I like that neat little addition to the larger story.)

But the real gem of this issue came with Emmett and Harold (the mysterious older survivor). We learn some vital deets about Harold’s backstory, and what may be a larger trend of disappearing towns. Harold also sees Emmett, who is revealed to be a little different than the rest of the group, as a kind of companion and successor, which continues to build that idea of shared memory and the way that grief and guilt are passed down like family heirlooms. I think their convo isn’t just emotionally potent but it also does wonders to extend the story even further, really getting at what this book is ultimately about and what we may be building toward. It’s a friendship that’s as affirming and wondrous as it is just a touch unnerving to boot.

And while the Emmett-Harold convo has big stakes for the metaphysical nature of this book, issue #3 didn’t really see as much fantastical malarkey. (What is there, then, is treated with a touch more efficiency and heft.) This slight shift let the duo of Casalanguida and Cunnife explore some more grounded territory, and that’s one of the more impressive aspects of this book.

The Displaced

The Displaced #3 variant cover by Vincenzo Riccardi. Courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Their shared efforts feel fully approachable and offer just the right kind of grit. It makes an issue with a lot of conversations seem all the more lively, and the feel and aesthetic of this book is one that we feel engaged with in a really meaningful way even when we can still feel the “threat” of otherworldly forces swirling just in the background. Then, you pair some of the scenes with the expert touch of Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and be it a Harold-Emmett convo over food or someone busting into the cabin the group’s staying, it’s the bright, sharp lettering where we further feel the power and intensity of these moments. (Otsmane-Elhaou’s style is one that he knows when and where to turn up or down the emotion with just the right kind shading or emphasis.)

Together, this approach makes for a really lively world to occupy. This powerful place that we can see is becoming increasingly colored or infested by energies we can’t fully explain without losing that connectivity. It’s subtle but intentful, delicate but undeniable — a look that feels perfectly suited for a story about everyday people facing strange things that they must learn to handle (even when they really can’t). And, again, when some fantastical or metaphysical thing does happen, it’s treated not only with care and precision, but it has a way of coloring or further heightening the rest of the book. Through that process we can feel the massive emotional and story arcs coming, and that guidance (without hand-holding) makes for some deeply powerful moments. The Displaced works to invite us in with a few tricks/tools, and once we’re in, we can’t every fully escape its beguiling world.

The third issue ends with a rather sudden and violent act — a moment that cuts deep with barbed emotions in a disarmingly efficient manner. For The Displaced, it’s just another extra potent, endlessly sharp moment that this book is already a whiz at facilitating. It’s a moment that should push the book and reader alike even further off balance, and explode the group dynamics and larger stakes in a way that will be both thrilling and totally gut-wrenching. You better get onboard now before this book transforms even further and leaves you in its mighty dust.

The Displaced #3
‘The Displaced’ #3 sucks you in further with big emotions and measured strikes
The Displaced #3
'The Displaced' continues to be a deeply powerful story about family, memory, community, trauma, grief, and what happens when that's all that remains.
Reader Rating1 Votes
The storyline continues to be deeply human above all else.
The book's themes are explored with respect, grace, and total power.
The art team give us a grounded world that's just the right level of unsettling/uncomfortable.
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