Joshua Hale Fialkov is a big, fluffy bunny.
Okay, sure, that wasn’t what I called him after I finished reading Echoes #5, the conclusion to what has surely been one of the best books of 2011. I probably used a few words that aren’t acceptable in polite society, and I would bet that I made my case for Fialkov have an empty spot where a heart should be. I think I even came close to ripping this comic in half.
That’s not to say that Echoes #5 isn’t a great comic; it is. The problem is that this issue, like the ones that came before it, pulls you in, makes you invest in these characters, and then laughs as it abuses those characters. Echoes has you and it will do what it wants.
So given how strongly I reacted to the end of this book, how did I manage to go from thinking Fialkov is a soulless monster to calling him a cuddly rabbit?
Brian Cohn has been totally screwed over. There’s no other way to read that. And over the course of five issues we’ve seen Rahsan Ekedal dazzle with figments of Cohn’s imagination, as well as flashbacks to Cohn’s past masterfully intertwined with his present. But one thing we have never seen at any point in time in this series? The future, be it imagined or otherwise.
But we do in this issue, if only for two panels.
It’s a moment that is easy to gloss over. It’s an extension of what is happening in the scene and doesn’t scream “everything will be okay because of these two panels, so just ignore all that other depressing stuff!” But it’s there. It’s just enough to give us a glimmer of hope, that maybe this will work out, even if it’s not right this minute.
What’s particularly great about everything I’ve just discussed is that I’m probably completely rationalizing. Those two panels are just an extension of the scene, like I said, and have absolutely nothing to do with what happens after the series ends. What we get is what we get, as brutally harsh and affecting as it is. And I’m just trying to fight it, because I care about what happens to Brian Cohn and his family.
And that sound you hear is the fluffy bunny laughing maniacally.