After recovering from the loss of his arm and still dealing with jumbled memories of past lives, Acker joins with the Society of the Enlightened as a Knight, and heads to Poland to investigate a new faction lead by the Blood Lord.
Created and Written by Erik Hendrix
Art (Cover & Pages 1-8) by Arnie Gordon
Art (Inside Cover & Pages 9-22) by Ibrahim Moustafa
Inks (Pages 1-4) by Jon Bolerjack
Colors (Cover & Pages 1-15) by Giuseppe Pica
Colors (Pages 16-22) by Michael Nelson
Letters by Erik Hendrix
Published by Carpet Bomb Comics
Previously in Faction #0: Honestly, I don’t know. This is the first I’ve ever read of this story. I get the feeling that the 0 issue was very important to understanding events of this issue though. So far, what you need to understand is that Acker was a Marine who recently lost him arm. He emerges from a light on the first page that has some means of recovering memories of past lives. However, Acker’s time in the light was significantly shorter than usual and is believed to be causing the trouble with his memories. I would only hope that the 0 issue fleshed out some of these details because I’m completely lost on many subjects.
A SUMMARY … I THINK
Our story opens with our hero emerging from a light in a large empty room and is greeted by Neko who fills him in on the nature of the war they’re in. Long ago there was a race of powerful creatures that were once worshiped as gods but were forced off Earth by the church during the Dark Ages. Among this race was the god, Loki. It appears that Loki has returned with more of his kind and is causing trouble all over the planet. Neko tells Acker to rest up for now and do something about his missing arm. Upon leaving the building, Acker finds an old friend waiting outside to take him to get fit with a new cybernetic arm.
Now starting to feel like a complete man, Acker heads to the mess hall for a meal and runs into 2 more of his teammates; Gabriel and Abigail. Gabriel is convinced that something is wrong when Acker’s memories aren’t what they should be and thinks that he should go to see Dayton (the man who gave him his new arm) to try to fix it. Abigail believes that Acker’s incomplete memories are God’s will and he is how he’s supposed to be. After Gabriel leaves Abigail has a heart felt talk with Acker to see if he remembers any of his past lives where the two of them were husband and wife but leaves broken hearted. Later that night, as Acker sleeps, a mysterious man comes into his room and tinkers with his new arm.
Two weeks later, Acker is given his first team assignment and is sent to Poland to be an emissary to a new faction lead by someone calling himself the Blood Lord. As they drive down a foggy road they are suddenly set upon by a hoard of zombies. As they fight, Acker starts to remember magic that was lost to his memories and blows a group of zombies away. As they finish off the last of the hoard, they are suddenly met by their leader and one time ally Julius who now serves the Blood Lord.
I decided to review this title as I think most people will read it. As I type these words, I have just now read the 0 issue. Everything before this paragraph was written with no knowledge of the previous issues’ events. That being said, man was this a confusing book. Reading the 0 issue does help you understand some aspects of the story but not nearly enough to say that you get it. Acker lost his arm when a military convoy was ambushed. As he recovered, a demon assassin from the Den came into his room to kill him. Suddenly Abigail and Gabriel appeared and the three of them fought off the assassin. Still depressed about losing his arm, Acker decided to join the Society of the Enlightened for a month to see if he had a future with their team. They educated him and trained him in combat, but the last thing they showed him was a temple in Israel where he was told to sit and meditate. Apparently, the light he was engulfed in at the start of this story was some sort of trance that was supposed to restore memories of his past lives. Now that I’m a little clearer on the story, let’s proceed …
This is one of Carpet Bomb’s first comics. And it shows. I really feel that underneath all of the confusion and seemingly random events, there is a really good story waiting to happen. So far though, there have been quite a few times where I had to flip to the previous page because I felt like I missed something. It tends to jump from one subject to the next and, even upon rereading the issue, I still don’t know why they spent time telling us some things (such as the information about India and Norway when the team was sent to Poland). The first person we meet besides Acker is a man named Neko who talks in riddles. I get the impression that he wrote this book.
TOO MANY NAMES THAT DON’T MEAN ANYTHING
There are a lot of confusing things about this book but none more confusing than the name changes. We have Acker who was once known as Asa in a past life. But they don’t tell us that in this issue and, for a #1, it would have been a good idea to fill us in on that. This isn’t just a problem with Acker but also with one of our bad guys who goes by the names Judah and Julius. I don’t even know why Acker knows this guy or how he’s a former teammate because this is the first time he’s even mentioned in this title. This title throws names around like they don’t mean anything. You can easily get lost trying to figure out the different groups fighting each other in this book. You have The Den (apparently demons), The Banished (some sort of non-humans that were kicked off the planet), Loki and the Jotnar (formerly worshiped as gods), God (the big #1), Factions (groups of possible bad guys such as the Blood Lord), and the Society of the Enlightened (who we are following but the name of the group is never mentioned in this book). Even keeping notes, it’s tough to figure out. I’m sure some of those names are subgroups that are acting as part of a big picture plan but I have no idea which ones.
IT CAN BE A GREAT COMIC IF …
Not all of the book was bad. The panels where Acker gets a cybernetic arm from Dayton were very well written and had some light comedy to it. I really enjoyed the scene in the cafeteria with Abigail discussing their past lives. Recently I went through a rather heart breaking experience and felt myself relating to Abigail through all of this exchange. The emotional responses were very accurate. While I am getting tired of seeing zombies (and in some cases vampires) being thrown everywhere, I do think that the concept of having former “gods” walking the Earth is an interesting one. I really hope that they start cleaning up some of this rather convoluted story telling so that they can get to the part of the story that deals with these old familiar gods. Like I said before, this comic has a lot of potential hidden but is not realizing any of it.
If you plan to buy this comic, I would have to say that it’s MANDATORY that you buy the 0 issue too. Without the assistance of the 0 issue, I’d almost say that this is unreadable. This title is in desperate need of a “Understanding This World 101” section. I give this comic one star out of five only because of some hidden potential in the script.