I was remiss in my duties on Wednesday, as I didn't point out it was the most important holiday here at the blog, Clint Eastwood's Birthday Day. Which is celebrated by the ceremonial consuming of greasy foods and watching the Dollars Trilogy (plus maybe Unforgiven and High Plains Drifter if I'm up for it).
Real Science Adventures #2, by Brian Clevinger (writer), Lo Baker (art and letters, Flying She-Devils), Wook Jin Clark (artist, The Sparrow), Anthony Clark (colorist), Tessa Stone (letterer, Flying She-Devils), Jeff Powell (letterer, The Sparrow) - I took the subscription cover because it seemed a little more interesting to me. It's hard to imagine someone being that happy about bailing out of a plane, but if the alternative was not getting out of the plane, being happy about being in a functioning parachute makes sense.
The squad of She-Devils reach Marauder Island, and while they prepare some explosive distractions to cover their escape with the seaplane, discover the Marauders have enslaved several women from Tonga to make some vaguely fuel-like substance. So the theft of the plane is now also a liberation, neither of which Mad Jack can tolerate, so they're about to have his entire squadron of planes coming down on their heads. In the back-up story, Sparrow is undaunted by the lack of a farmhouse with supplies and infiltrates the weapon and begins killin' Nazis.
Now that things are happening, I'm much more interested in the main story. I'm especially curious about two things. One is if there will be a big surprise late with the concoction the prisoners were being used to make (Chekov's Moonshine). the other is what the air battle is going to look like. Mad Jack is determined to retake the Sutherland, so they can't simply shoot it down. Which means trying to board and retake the thing in mid-air. Which has the potential to be very cool, though I haven't seen Baker draw a battle scene yet, so it's unclear how that will go.
As with the previous issue, there are times Baker seems to need more room than the panels allow, and so faces are extremely simplified or overwhelmed by thick lines and shadows. But when there's enough room, the expressions and body language are still good. Mad Jack is all wild looks and teeth-gritted frustration. Val is slightly irritated as things start to go off-plan, but otherwise very under control. She doesn't get wide-eyed much, isn't gesturing or demonstrative, just focused on the task at hand.
Clark's work on the back-up seems like it shouldn't fit in this story about an agent trying to kill a bunch of Nazis and their super-weapon. A little too cute, but the tone of the story is light enough it mostly works. Sparrow is barely annoyed by the various complications, the Nazis aren't incompetent, but are just a little slow in grasping what's going on. There's no sense things are at all out of Sparrow's control, so there isn't a sense of danger to work against the art. Although everyone's hands still look too small for the rest of their bodies.
With everyone else incapacitated with the love claymores the Soldato set, it's down to Emp to try and stop her from destroying love in the city. Which doesn't go very well, so it's fortunate Ninjette sees through the illusion and gets involved. It's sad because seeing through it involves realizing her father doesn't love her and never did. What's that line from "The Man Who Has Everything"? 'I made a trap you could only escape by giving up your heart's desire' or something like that? 'It must have been like cutting off your own arm'? The Soldato is very nearly sliced in two, but Emp steps in, there's tearful hugging, the villain escapes during all thise, but the machine was wrecked so love is saved.
The whole bit about Ninjette was effective, especially to have the Soldato mocking her for "daddy issues" the whole time Ninjette is having this wonderful experience of life with a father who isn't an abusive drunk. It's pretty disturbing that the Soldato did this to someone, and then thinks it's funny. Because she originally used her powers to her benefit, only to find it's no good making people love you, and deciding the whole idea of love was bogus. It's the same when she shoots Emp with "broken-heart hollow-points", the laughs about how Emp is probably reliving losing her father, that she can always smell dead daddy on a girl. That's the kind of shit I'd expect from the Joker, which is why I didn't feel particularly bad when she watched her magic pangolin get decapitated right in front of her. Found something she still cared about after all.
Actually, I'm still trying to figure out why the pangolin would go along with her plans to eradicate love in this city. It would seem contrary to being a soldier of love. Perhaps there was an explanation in the copious amounts of Spanish I couldn't decipher in this issue.
I'm not sure what would have happened inside the illusion if Soldato's plan had been completed, since Ninjette wouldn't have been able to feel love any longer. Would the illusion have faded, would she have been stuck in it, but bored or disinterested by it? Her father's affection wouldn't mean anything to her at that point.
There an angle that's reused in a couple of panels with Ninjette on the ground in the foreground, and Emp in the middle ground, looking upwards towards the Soldato in the distance. The first has Emp trying to reason but ready to fight, in the latter she's lost the fight but can still try to argue. But in the first, 'Jette out like a light, and in the latter, her eyes are open and she's crying as she' working out of the illusion/fugue state. And Diaz uses that ground level perspective on 'Jette a few times in between, charting her progress as she figures out what's happening. Point being, Karla Diaz did a good job drawing this. The sneering disdain she gives the Soldato in particular, puffing away on the stupid e-cig.