Austin Harrison, Battlestar Galactica, Colonial Viper, Cylon Raider, IDW, Mike Raicht, Nelson Daniel, Star Wars, Tie Fighter, Wild Blue Yonder, X-Wing, Zach Howard
This is it, folks: the explosive finale of the soaring spectacle that has been Wild Blue Yonder:
And by explosive, I’m not simply talking about all things coming to a head after all the tension that has been built up over five issues is released in a singular climactic burst. I mean, literally: there are a lot of explosions. A lot. It’s clear–well, as clear as it can be for all the smoke and debris: the creative team–the Wild Blue myth masters–comprised of Mike Raicht (story/writer), Zach Howard (story/artist), Austin Harrison (story) and Nelson Daniel (colors) decided to go out with a FaDoom!
Despite the fact that there’s enough fiery fallout to warrant a a titular turn of the color wheel–from Wild Blue Yonder to Wild Orange Yonder–the biggest blast isn’t the result of offensive or defensive ordinance; instead, it comes from Raicht’s using the structure of the issue to further blow up archetypal conventions by turning the Judge–the story’s antagonist–into an antihero who’s worth rooting for, certainly as we recall his confident assertion in the previous issue: “we will rise above those flames for good” (good to be taken as “forevermore” and, relatively speaking, as “moral righteousness”); and thanks to a bloody flashback, which gives him even more power in the eyes of his people–and, more important, power over us.
Don’t be surprised, then, if you find yourself sympathizing with the Executioner before the axe comes down. See: even though the world’s propped up on black (the Judge!) and white (Cola!) stanchions, the atmosphere of moral relativism takes on a shade of, well, blue. It doesn’t take long, however, for our concern to turn back toward Cola and Co. As the focus of the story switches to the defenders of the Dawn, we’re reminded that they’re the ones who deserve to carry on; they’re the ones who are meant to see a better day.
They are the ones–right?
But a better tomorrow doesn’t come easily. Howard and Daniel–the former delivering a career-defining achievement and the latter wielding colors of mass destruction–make it look pretty easy, though, with their other-worldly attention to detail, which is showcased during the inevitable issue-spanning, sky-scarring dogfight that drives the narrative to its ultimate conclusion. Oh, sure, it’s a familiar scene powered, in part, by cinematic urgency: heck, it comes preloaded with the energy of X-Wings vs. Tie Fighters and the desperation of Colonial Vipers vs. Cylon Raiders. We see in this re-imagining a rag-tag air force–comprised of planes from a bygone era–led by Cola and supplemented by gutsy guns (including the high-caliber–and scene-stealing–Scram) vs. a swarm of Wraiths, this time spearheaded by the Judge, who knows that this is his last opportunity to provide a future for his people. Undoubtedly–and unapologetically–the myth masters are sticking to a tried and true script; they’re pinning their hopes–and ours–on our familiarity–more, our sacred relationship–with genre tropes. And it all works; it still feels fresh–thanks to special moments like the gorgeous final double-page splash, which hearkens back to a double-page splash from the past and which leaves us to do some Sol-searching of our own.
The clever fellas at Noble Transmission have left a few questions unanswered–questions that’ll tug at you long after you’ve bagged and boarded the book. That’s got me thinking, expecting–and hoping–sequel. Ah, now that will be a beautiful day.
I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got in store for us.
For now, though, you’ve got to wait for this:
Wild Blue Yonder #6 (IDW) is slated to hit the shelf of your favorite comic shop on 1/21. I’ll be picking up my copy at Android’s Amazing Comics.
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