Story: Eliot Rahal
Art: Clara Meath
Colors: Mark Englert
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
Oliver Flores has had every single decision in his life taken from him. First by the aliens that abducted him. Then by the authorities who wanted to put him in a mental asylum. And now by this bizarre cult leader who just wants to use him. It’s time for Oliver to stand up for himself. It’s time for him to face his fears. If Oliver wants a life worth living then he has to make it for himself. The only problem is…will it cost him everything that he has left?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Midnight Vista series from Eliot Rahal and Clara Meath has been interesting. I really enjoyed Meath’s take on the visuals for it because it leaned a lot more “indie” than a lot of AfterShock’s books do and the design work was great, not just for the locations but for some interesting characters and completely creepy earth-based aliens. Rahal’s script started strong and had some good ideas when it brought things back to Earth quickly while also hitting up the flashbacks. But the finale is one that feels rushed, like it needed another issue, but even more problematic is that it ends inconclusively. Maybe the hope is for more with a second series, but there’s not enough closure here to make it feel like an opening arc has wrapped up.
Oliver ending up with Barker and his cult where he calls out Oliver as the star-child messiah is definitely comical, and made me wish someone would properly adapt Stranger in a Strange Land. Oliver, thankfully, isn’t won over by Barker and what he’s doing but he is desperate for some help and opts to try the whole mind opening experience that Barker suggests to find out why Oliver came back to Earth. He believes that’s the key to everything and it plays out well, giving us more of a look at what’s really a cult here before digging in and actually giving us a look at why Oliver did come back. That it was to get medicine for Nomar is something that makes a lot of sense even if there’s the inherent wonkiness of space travel to it. It’s a great moment for Oliver as real understanding has hit – even if he doesn’t quickly realize that he doesn’t know which medicine just yet. Still, to have that answer and to bring it forth creatively from inside was nicely done.
While all of this is unfolding, we get Kratzner figuring out what happened to Oliver’s mother in how she escaped while trying to line up ways to intercept the information that Oliver may be sending her phone. Since he’s cut out of the loop, he’s doing his best to call in some favors for information. He’s also unknowingly being followed by the creepy mush-aliens who are now in a helicopter, all of which come together with Oliver’s story as it ties back to how Barker wants to sacrifice him like any good cult would. It’s kind of bonkers toward the end because of all of the things coming together but at the same time it feels like it doesn’t know how to end it since this is clearly not an ending period. What you get is something that’s just disjointed and muddled, unclear as to the intent and where everyone stands- even if it says “End” with a question mark.
I really enjoyed a good chunk of Midnight Vista as a whole but at the end it’s unclear as to what it wants to say. There’s lots to go on about law enforcement and media based on how events play out once Oliver came back and how it dealt with his parents, but that was a couple of issues ago. The finale deals more with the cult and revealing why Oliver is here but without resolving it or doing anything that feels like it made the whole journey worthwhile. Meath’s artwork definitely was a reason to grab the book, however, as it’s a lot of fun and feels like it has a good sort of authenticity to it in its designs to make me want to see more of her work going forward.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: January 15th, 2020