A superb ending to the mini series that subtly brought the emotional cathrsis I had been craving. I have criticised the lack of connection with the characters beyond the merely academic points of the story for the first three issues but the final issue spins that around and makes you evaluate all that came before it. Not that the series suddenly descends into a sentimental outpouring, far from it in fact, but it’s a rich and measured ending that drips with pathos while giving us an intriguing narrative loop.
The issue gives us Dominic worried about his abilities in the quasi-present while his father battles his own son in the sort of past. It’s hard to know which timeline trumps the other as the main focus here but it doesn’t matter as one nicely plays off the other. There’s been a cool detachment to this story and a brutal side that can be quite surprising and the final issue is no different. Some motivations are murky, other plot points only alluded to in vague terms but this still offers a resolution that if I’m interpreting correctly, makes the book both hopeful and tragic at the same time. It is a narrative puzzle only a complex time travel tale can provide us with but it shows Hickman’s command of his craft and his skill at telling a dense but ultimately rewarding tale.
Its also a different take on the dramatic trope of fathers and sons, filtered through time travel at its most deliciously complicated and the book doesn’t shy away from the harsh lessons of when children outgrow their parents and feel disappointment. The relationships in the Red Wing remain barely touched upon, strangely left on the sidelines while other story concerns loom larger. This is frustrating but appropriate and I imagine, this style will reward future re-reads. Nick Pitarras art is still as good as ever, the time frames each having their own distinctive feeling and the characters suitably weather beaten as required.
This was never a flashy, whiz bang , action packed romp. It has always been cerebral and complex and it mightn’t satisfy those with a taste for the more straightforward but if you’re willing to invest you’ll get a lot out of it. Four issues weren’t enough but in some ways that gives the arc its unique shape and any more might have diluted its beautiful mystique. A very strong conclusion to a low key but absorbing series Hickman is the go to guy for strong science heavy comics these days and I look forward to savouring this again. The book may state that “There is no end” but as a mid point between the two seprate strands presented as an ending of sorts, this simply soars.
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