Story: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Christian Ward
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
What They Say:
With the lives of three ships’ crews on the line, Grix reveals the sum of what she knows to Captain Turo—and does not get the response she expected.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As much as I’m enjoying Invisible Kingdom I’m also frustrated with it because it hasn’t done as much of the kind of worldbuilding that it felt like it promised at the start. G. Willow Wilson is giving us some solid character material as we see Grix and her crew struggle against Turo and being part of his captured crew and that has its interesting moments but it’s just them nowhere near in control of their destiny once again, much like the opening arc. The plus naturally continues in that we get some great artwork with Christan Ward delivering throughout but it’s when it feels like things finally move forward that it comes alive more, such as when Vess removes her headpiece and her hair comes flowing out from it. There’s a real beauty to that and a few other sequences that definitely stand out well. Otherwise, we’re still largely stuck in ships that smell like farts.
The general concept at the moment is still to get away from Turo and to get the Sundog back and working. Grix had little luck with her attempt before but part of that was just aa larger ploy. Here, we see how Eline and Vess are going in with Turo to try and convince him that Eline is a bit more amenable to some ideas. But even that goes poorly as Turo knows better as we see how easily Eline tips her hat with it. What’s engaging is watching as Vess makes her play for the position and Turo can’t help but to believe her because of who and what she is. Turo’s more aware of what drives her than others and her telling the tale of the herbs she needs to avoid the heightened sensitivity that comes with an Awakening has him excited. He’s not actually keen on her giving up this sensation but he’s also understanding of the situation and willing to dock with the Sundog to get the meds with her.
While this is all happening, we see how Grix and the others scavenge for parts needed to fix the Sundog to take advantage of when they do dock since Grix thinks Eline’s plan is the one that got things in motion. It’s amusing to see how poorly Grix reacts, stemming from her not understanding the bond she shares with Vess but also quite protective of her, as it leads to a lot more trouble with the minor action we get in this installment. It expands bigger because Turo’s smart enough to set up ways so that if he’s knocked out his most loyal crew knows so they can put plans into motion. All of that puts Grix in a lot more trouble but the beauty comes down to reinforcing these still lightly at best unexplored connections that exist between her and Vess. It’s fascinating to watch play out thanks to Ward’s artwork and it left me craving for the book to have more of this.
I’ve really enjoyed Invisible Kingdom since it began but I’m closing in on a point where I’m wondering if it’ll be worth waiting for the trades. I really want to see this story flow and support it but I also want to see the character taking charge of their destiny and making decisions of what to do, which comes up lightly here when Grix’s broadcast is talked about. Grix needs to make some real choices and set a course to follow not just for her but for everyone. I really like a lot of what Wilson brings to this installment but it’s the forward-looking aspect that still has me the most wary with it as Grix hasn’t committed to a path and that makes the book as a whole feel listless and without purpose.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics / Berger Books
Release Date: January 29th, 2020