Writer: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Juan Gedeon
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Cover: Jason Howard
Thomas has kicked off the next phase of the invasion as the team has split up and certain members aren’t on good terms right now. So we’re back to a mostly Zhia focused story as she prepares to do her part. To complicate things even further, Mother Nature has decided that a super snow storm will be sweeping through Chicago. Maybe that’s the symbolism of the cover to Zhia? I don’t know, but it doesn’t help her situation one bit.
If you’ve been reading Horizon since the start this feels like the beginning of the first arc all over again which is in no way a slight against the issue. Thomas scaling down the cast allows more of the story to play out and more time with Zhia. He continues to give her depth beyond just being a badass as she seems to be struggling with things that are beyond the current mission. This may be why she seems much more capable when she’s leading the team than when she is by herself. I wasn’t sure how to take this as Thomas showing her vulnerabilities helps to flesh out the character. But it also looks as if she can’t be successful without the safety net of her team. When events shift to Alderman Howe and his efforts to help the people in Chicago we get to see a glimpse of what was discussed during his capture. Thomas also slips in a character that pops up during this sequence who might be a new disguised Valian or one that we’ve already met. However, it’s during the flashback where Thomas gives us more backstory about the Valians and a brief encounter with invaders attempting to take all they have. This does shed some light on possibly why they’re so proactive about stopping the Earth and making sure that they don’t take over their world.
Juan Gedeon is joined by colorist Mike Spicer this issue and the two give a stellar display of visual storytelling. Gedeon and Thomas remain very much in sync and know exactly when to show more and tell less in the story. This reinforces the narrative and brings up several questions along the way that get you thinking. Like why does it hurt Zhia so much to interface with her biotech. From the looks of things she might be better off just keeping a notepad to write this stuff down. Sure it’s not science fiction but it hurts a hell of a lot less since her implant is damaged. Gedeon still delivers some over the top action sequences that are big screen worthy and when we visit Valius things just get wild. Like gun-dogs kind of wild and exploding heads resulting in one hell of a firefight. Did I mention the gun-dogs? Yeah, those are pretty damn cool. Hopefully we go back to Valius real soon and Gedeon can show off some more crazy designs. Speaking of designs, can we take a minute to appreciate yet ANOTHER fantastic cover by Jason Howard? The subliminals are always great with these and they’re as much a part of the story as what’s going on inside.
This second arc is shaping up to be just as intense as the first with the creative team maintaining a story worth putting your hard earned money towards. So make sure Horizon is on your pull list and you might want to put on oven mitts before you pick it up.