If you can’t trust family … who can you trust?
Writer: Ralph Tedesco
Artwork: Oliver Borges
Colors: Fran Gamboa with J.C. Ruiz
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
Eve must find a way to escape from the Divinity, who is using cage matches with man-eating primals as a form of penance. Meanwhile, Eve’s friends at the Longview compound find themselves threatened by a pack of primals looking for a primitive form of vengeance. And back in Liberty, Gillings ponders taking matters into his own hands to find his missing shipment.
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
As Eve and Gillings’ men investigate the remains of the ambushed cargo shipment, they are in turned surprised by unwanted visitors – the Divinity has been waiting for new victims to bring into their cause. Finding themselves surrounded and outnumbered by hostiles, the guards are easily pacified before Harper and the remnants can get under cover and attempt to find a way out of this desperate situation. But as lucky shots seem to even the odds, the opposing group’s leader calls out for their surrender after capturing most of the intruders and offering a chance for redemption, even as Eve herself is captured at knife point by an unseen attacker. However after Gillings’ commander captures one of these outlaws and strives to negotiate an exchange, allowing them to leave with the leftover supplies and their own men, he is shocked when his captive exchanges words of repentance to his comrades and willingly sacrifices himself by pulling the trigger, ending the one sided standoff. Still surprised by this fanatical act of devotion, the remaining survivors are quickly dealt with by tranquilizer darts, finally ending any resistance from these foolish people and leaving the Divinity to transport them to their compound, to an uncertain fate for those who dare to stand against their teachings.
Meanwhile back in Longview as Morgan and his people unload the looted supplies, he is greeted by Myra threatening him a knife after hearing her husband died during the retrieval, with his sincere apology falling on deaf ears. As this grieving widow tries to fight back tears of grief, hurling accusations of misplaced loyalty for a man who died for nothing more but a few cans of food, the leader urgently cautions the guards to holster their weapons against this devastated woman, knowing she is speaking from frustration instead of a need for revenge. Slowly walking forward in a non-threatening manner, this head of the community attempts to disarm the situation by plainly stating Jason chose to participate in this failed endeavor, acknowledging his friend knew the risks as well as the danger. But as the mournful parent finally broke down and crumpled into his arms, this sorrowful moment was interrupted by a sentry speaking into a radio to alert them of new trouble quickly approaching: six primals were fifty yards out from the perimeter of the Longview. While he was confident they could deal with such a small group, Morgan did not take any chances and raised the alarm to Code Purple, telling his neighbors take their children into the bunkers and prepare for the assault with silenced weapons only.
As we return to the uncertainty that is Eve’s life, writer Ralph Tedesco wastes no time placing our heroine within another impossible situation, and yet while the dangers are abundant upon this wasteland, instead of endangering her against primals, it is the raiders who present more of a challenge. Although we know humans can be more ferocious than any mutated beasts, it is rather bothersome to have these gangs be the main cause of grief within both series, and especially worrisome since we were introduced to the Divinity at the end the previous title. To have these same fanatics leave such a lasting impression is pivotal to the title itself, however is seems strange that they are the main cause of trouble for Harper since we know from the prior book there are other groups such as the Natives and Specters who could have played the same role. Even if this repetition may be somewhat monotonous, it is the Divinity’s varied interests which keep the reader always guessing, especially those who are familiar with their propensity to mutilate their captives, from which Eve mentions as they are escorted into their compound. But as we become repulsed and brutally fascinated by the gladiatorial combat which they call Liminality with its absence of humanity, it is the gripping awareness of compassion shown in Longview that creates an unshakable foundation which is the basis for survival within this new world. To see Morgan have to face a grieving Myra is sincerely painful, watching this woman who has lost her husband and the father to their children now having to deal with the man who she blames, trying to make sense of the useless loss of life. And while this hesitant leader could have taken full responsibility for his death, it is more reasonable to admit the more accurate logic that anyone who went out also bears some of that fault, knowing that with danger comes reward. It is these words which ring true, allowing Myra crumble from acceptance and try to continue with her life, all while knowing her community will help her to survive.
At the pinnacle of this uncompromising series, the reader’s attention is immediately transfixed by the opening page, all thanks to the graphic brutality of Oliver Borges’ illustration which captures the sickening moment of a violent death, and yet it is his sharp line technique which so willing provides a vivid snapshot of surprise, alarming us to the quickness but eclipsed by the barren emotion displayed from his killer’s empty and inhuman eyes, ever chilling due to the pinpoint focus buried deep within. This haunting event is made all the more savage due to the somber palette as presented by Fran Gamboa and J.C. Ruiz, with a constant veil of grey depression looming over every page, making all other tones seem that much more stark and barren, even in the midst of this wasteland, the color scheme is made more pronounced, striking a justifiable realism to every splatter of blood and the definition of sinew and muscle plunging a knife through a slack throat. With effect text only solidifying this demise, one cannot but imagine how the violence could become any worse, and yet we would be proven indubitably wrong as the splash of dark crimson and explosion of close range gunfire paints another panel with the shock of the actors, captivating the audience with our penchance for savagery. But as the Divinity seduces us with ever more gruesome moments, it is within Longview where Borges attempts to balance the horror with an opportunity to witness what makes the survivors strive for another day – a compassionate chance to correct the cruelty within this world, even as it takes it away. You cannot but feel the visible anger on Myra’s face, so elegantly displayed with downturned eyes and a tear stained face, her frustration wanting to vent upon someone and that has to be Morgan. Even with the inevitability of death, there still will be someone who tries to comfort those left behind, and it is within these isolated pages where we see humanity can attempt to live another day against the brutality of life.
As The Courier: Liberty and Death nears it end, the stark reality of survival continues to shock us with moments of extreme violence balanced by the rare chance of compassion for those left behind. However while the story seems familiar, it is the grimness of sickening artwork made all the more captivating due to gravitating colors that captivates the audience and with a wish to see even more to satisfy our morbid curiosity. And yet as Eve finds herself trapped within an impossible situation, you cannot but wonder how she will make it out alive, even as those who work against her reveal their cruelty knows no bounds within a world with inconvenient laws.
Rating: T (Teen)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: February 17, 2021