ďThe Sema and the Damage DoneĒ
Writer: Chip Mosher
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
This five issue mini-series has been an entertaining thrill ride of a spy story, and the final issue is no exception, full of tense scenes and tragic twists. Like a good, suspenseful espionage movie, the book has had plenty of action, globe-trotting adventure, and an intriguing examination of the sacrifices and moral choices that must be made by those who practice in world-altering lies.
The plot of the series (as much as I can remember; the last couple issues have been troublingly late) involves a secret agent named Eric who is brought in to hunt down a fellow spy named Emma who stole some important information (which, in a bit of political commentary, would be damaging to the United Statesí president). In a not-exactly-surprising twist, he and Emma used to have a relationship before she walked out on him and went rogue, so he has a vested interest in finding her. Well, he found her, and now heís doing everything he can to try to make sure she doesnít die. Unfortunately, that seems to be the opposite of what she wants; years of lies and ugly spy jobs seem to have pushed her into a mentally unbalanced state and given her a death wish. Can Eric manage to save her, or is he fated to watch her leave him again?
Itís an exciting, heartbreaking finale, with a sad inevitability to it. There hasnít been too much time to develop the characters, but Mosher makes good use of the space he has, making them feel like real people, damaged and broken from their years of service in pursuit of dubious goals. Francavillaís art brings them to life wonderfully; I didnít think it was anything special at first, but after an issue or two, I began to realize the beautiful simplicity of his characters and the way he fills out the backgrounds and outdoor locations (Martin Thomasís colors add a lot, especially in a sensual love scene that takes place in this issue). He also comes up with some really nice layouts, including a double-page spread in the fourth issue that looked like it was shot through a fisheye camera lens, and another spread of panels in this issue that seem to spring outward from the crosshairs of a sniper rifle scope. He really gave his all in these last few issues, and itís a beautiful result.
So, overall, this is a very nice, concise spy story that would make a good short story or movie, but works excellently in comics form due to Francavillaís artwork. Unfortunately, the story has been a bit hard to follow due to the publishing delays, but hopefully it will be collected into a trade paperback soon, allowing for the best way to experience the story. I definitely recommend picking it up in that format.
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