Espionage, technology, guns, and a secret code are the highlights of the latest issue of Codebreakers from BOOM! Studios. Oh, and there are a couple of things that go boom as well…
Created by: Ross Richie
Written by: Carey Malloy
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: Stephen Downer
Letterer: Johnny Lowe
Cover A: Julian Totino Tedesco
Cover B: Bret Weldele
Editor: Dafna Pleban
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Previously in Codebreakers: Sent a tantalizing bit of code, Stanley Grouse found himself captive by one bad fellow who wants him to decipher a very complex cypher in order to access something. In order to motivate him, his captor, Renault, uses all manner of torture to keep him working. Fortunately, Stan’s co-workers, Cryptolinguist Lindsay Abbott, Mathematician Malcolm Whiteweather, and Cyrptanalyst Donald Foster are working frantically to get him back alive.
Having split last issue, Malcolm and Lindsay seek the aid of a drug lord’s family to help them storm the building. It’s a really weird side track to the overall story, but I guess it is a necessary twist to keep the two in the story. It’s also somewhat necessary to tell the backstory of the relationship between Donald and Renault as Lindsay hacks into a CIA transcript between an investigating officer and Donald. Through these flashbacks, we learn that Donald was in deep cover, spying on Renault, while at the same time creating the very code Stanley is trying to crack.
Readers learn that our villain was someone not to be trifled with back then, and has become even more devious in the present story when it is revealed that Renault knew someone would be coming and loaded the building up with explosives. Since this big element of the story is told through the transcript, it could very easily have been told via a flashback narrated by Donald. Again, it appears it was done this way to keep the duo in the story and to give Donald another reason to be a sonofabitch when Renault calls him up and makes him watch the building, with the mafia strike force and Malcolm inside explode in a big fireball.
With Malcolm apparently out of the way, it seems like his character has been wasted this entire time. He appeared in the story to do one thing, and one thing only (get money) and when he overstayed his welcome, he was eliminated. Lindsay is still running around, and since she is a potential love interest, she’ll probably survive the end of the series. I don’t like when interesting characters are created and then have a meaningless death just to move the story along, and in the grand view of the series, I think it hurts this issue.
Donald, on the other hand, used his own methods to track Stanley down to a house within view of the soon to explode building, where he does confront Stan about the entire situation. In another surprise twist, Stanley reveals he knew the code was impossible to crack from the beginning and went through all the torture and suffering just to hear it from Donald’s mouth. When the truth is revealed, the issues ends with a bit of a character turn, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but will probably be a ruse when the final issue kicks in.
I CAN’T DEFINE IT, BUT I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT
Once again, Scott Godlewski’s art is really solid and I like his composition and framing in each panel. However, since the flashback in this issue is told through a transcript Lindsay is reading, the concentric circle effect fails as all previous flashback moments were told through the view of Donald. While there is a connection between the transcript and Donald, I guess it is okay to use it lightly here, but it still feels like a break in style continuity. Other than that, I don’t really have a problem with the art or coloring in this installment.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH IT
When it comes to writing reviews, I usually like to review titles that seem interesting to me, or featuring a character I am passionate about. It’s my job then to express my views on the material presented before me and give you an honest evaluation of what I’ve read. I’ve always been impressed with the eagerness and energy BOOM! Studios brings to the comic book publishing world with their titles. Codebreakers is one of those books that I really do enjoy, but I keep getting the feeling everything would flow better and be more enjoyable read in one giant chunk rather than a month at a time. Codebreakers #3 is a solid story, even if some of the elements seem familiar. With one issue to go, Codebreakers #3 is worth picking up; earning 3.5 out of 5 Stars.