There are so many wonderful moments in this issue, I don't know where to start. Just about every single character in the story gets a moment to shine. Seriously. And by shine, I mean that nearly every character has a moment or two this issue where we see their emotional core, the sadness and desperation that makes all of these broken men and women human rather than just characters.
I think the most impressive thing about this series isn't the setting, or the plot, or the violence. It's the fact that Ellis concentrates on dialogue and the telling of stories without letting it all get bogged down or boring. Of course, the setting is fantastic, the plot is interesting, and the violence is brutal and devastating. But it's the people talking to one another where the piece really comes to life.
It doesn't hurt that Ellis is able to drop immanently quotable catch phrases ("Science will fuck you!"), disturbing desperate exclamations ("I don't know everything that happens. I just know how it all ends."), and heartbreakingly honest revelations ("Man, I ain't never seen space") seemingly at will. There's something about Avatar that brings out the best in Ellis.
Pagliarani's art just keeps getting better. The intricate detail of the settings are essential to bringing this story to life. There's a cluttered, run-down feel to every panel that takes place in Ignition City that makes the sadness palpable. And his visions of space technology along with the glimpse he gives us of Bronco's flyover of future Texas are vividly realistic and disturbing. Those ships are awkward and look hand-riveted, just like they should. And the sea of bones in Texas drives home and justifies Bronco's compulsion to drink.
One more issue to go. Promises of confrontation between Mary and Lightning, the truth about what's up North, and more Doc Vukovic witticisms have me desperately craving issue five, not to mention whatever Ellis and Pagliarani have waiting for further adventures.
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