Conspiracy Theory meets Lethal Weapon meets Boom! Studios

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If you missed the Major Spoilers review of the first two issues of The Foundation from Boom! Studios, check it out in the podcast. If you want to skip it, that’s fine – in a nutshell, the series is off to a great start, and after reading issue three, I’m upset this title only comes out once a month.

foundation3cover.jpgWhile a lot of the third issue is spent walking us through the methods the Foundation will use to take down the terrorist group; the exposition isn’t the point, but rather the subtle indications of how large the Foundation is. Multiple strike teams, embedded agents inside the Federal Government, and the reveal that the Foundation isn’t concerned with due process, makes this one scary organization that you wouldn’t want to cross. At one point the reader is told no one knows who reports to whom, or how big the organization is, which makes this a secret agency akin to the Illuminati.

The only way agents are able to identify who is a member of their team is by wearing a blue rose pin – significant in that Nostradamus used rose pills as a method of counteracting the plague. While this secret handshake is a great way to acknowledge without acknowledging, don’t you think it has the potential to be abused or used by the enemy?

I once had a friend who was not a member of the Masons, but had an uncle who taught him the secret handshake. This friend pressed the flesh, so to speak, at a few parties, and soon found himself rising socially and monetarily. I’m not saying there is a direct connection, but someone who really wanted to infiltrate the Foundation could do it with some careful observation and a blue rose pin.

We were first introduced to the Foundation through veteran Stephen Valentine’s struggle to cope with what he is doing in the organization, ultimately deciding to leave after his last mission. In order to get out cleanly, the Foundation partners him with Calvin Thomas, a new recruit, to stop a terrorist attack on the water supply for New York City. The combo of the new recruit and older veteran is a perfect combination that fans of Lethal Weapon, the X-Files, and even 48 Hours will enjoy immediately.

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of remote viewing, Nostradamus’ prophecies, and other psychic tricks, the issue further expands on what was discussed in previous issues in a way that doesn’t bog the story down, but uses the information as a way of moving the story forward. Valentine even goes so far as to hint that there might be a larger force working against the ideals the Foundation upholds. Even though Fox Mulder is able to explain a conspiracy theory or concepts in detail, it takes a Scully to see things from a different, more skeptical view. And this is exactly what happens when Calvin second guesses the results “conjured” up by the Foundations many team members.

Are you seeing a lot of foreshadowing here?

That’s right dear reader, things suddenly go from peachy keen to nightmarish when teams stationed around the world begin to lose contact with HQ – a result of an all out attack on field agents – a mass killing no one (including me) was expecting.

Who lives? Who dies? Who is behind the mysterious attack? Let’s just say Valentine is out of the frying pan and into the fire. And Calvin… well…

This is what makes this a terrific read. Pulling a Hitchcock with a character readers have grown to like, throws everything into a tail spin and gets me more excited about this series with every page turn. I thought things might have plateaued in issue one, but this issue shows once again that we’ve merely reached the ridge of one range, only to discover the mountain peak is still a long way off. Kudos to writer John Rozum for another spectacular issue.

I still have minor issues with the art. At times it is still too difficult to identify who who in crowd shots, but otherwise everything works fine – especially the scenes of the field agents getting attacked without warning.

If you are someone who believes the end times are upon us, are particularly keen on conspiracy theories, or just someone who likes a great thriller, The Foundation from Boom! Studios is a page turner. I’m giving issue #3 another 4.5 out of 5 stars, and giving it a Strong Read recommendation.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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1 Comment

  1. March 20, 2008 at 10:44 am — Reply

    I couldn’t make it to the Major Spoilers Podcast this week, but I did do my homework…I swear!! Here is my take on The Foundation. I am only posting this because of how different I feel from Stephen.

    The Foundation stars Agent Valentine, a conflicted man who works for The Foundation, a mysterious group dedicated to averting the disastrous and very real prophecies of Nostradamus. Valentine is tired and wants out. He has been promised by his superiors a free release after one last mission. This secret organization uses prophetic enhancement teams, psychics, to unravel Nostradamus’ prophecies. They have uncovered a plot to poison New York City’s water supply. Agent Valentine takes his new partner and a team of Foundation soldiers to upstate New York.

    The Foundation number three picks up the mission started in book two. Valentine and his new to the agency partner, Agent Thomas, are searching a cabin of the suspected terrorists when two SUVs approach. The agents barely escape. Next, they rendezvous with their team to brief everyone on the situation. Here is where the story gets really bogged down. The writer spend ten pages and what seems like 100,000 words using the briefing to recap the story from book two. I wonder if this was for the benefit of readers who may have not read the first two books. For those of us who did, it makes plowing through this story arduous. And another problem I had with these pages was the tone of the situation. The characters seem too flippant. They are joking at a time when I imagine professionals would be…well, professional. The only part of this that advances the story is some foreshadowing as the new agent contends that something about all of the intel doesn’t seem right.

    After the word-fest that is the briefing in the woods, we finally get some action (ha ha…he said “get some action”). Foundation teams stationed at various other possible targets around the U.S. move into position. When no attack transpires, Agent Valentine contacts his supervisor assuming they are a victim of bad intelligence. That’s when all hell breaks loose. The other teams around the country come under attack simultaneously. Valentine and his men are caught be surprise and are totally wiped out…all except Valentine. As the book ends, Valentine is armed but alone…left to face six masked and heavily armed men approaching his position.

    My overall impression of The Foundation #3 is disappointment. I really liked the first two books and was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, the great concept, character development, and plot are just missing. I also started to notice the inconsistency of the art. The very first panel of the story looks like it was drawn by me and that’s not good. Throughout the book, the main character looks like Tom Cruise, Harvey Keitel, an Indian chief, a pirate, and various others. It’s not to say that the art is worse in this particular book. I think I just noticed it more because the story was less compelling.

    After achieving an enthusiastic 4 out of 5 rating for the first two books, there is suddenly a crack in The Foundation (Oh, come on! I had to use the obvious joke).

    RATING: 2.5 out of 5

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