The Midas Flesh is always something to look forward to if you’re into dinosaurs on spaceships, dynamic characters, and dystopian totalitarian regimes, and this week’s issue has been no exception. Can such a short series pack the punch it needs as it draws nearer its end? Find out after the jump!
THE MIDAS FLESH #6
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb
Inker: Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb
Colorist: Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: John Keogh
Editor: Shannon Watters
Publisher: Boom! Box
Previously in The Midas Flesh: Fatima, acting under the assumption that the Midas Flesh is a weapon too powerful and morally dubious to use, conspired with Sluggo, their prisoner, to toss the flesh into a black hole. Things went awry when Sluggo betrayed her, signaling The Federation, and forcing Joey to lose her arm to the effect of the flesh.
The Plot Thickens… Awkwardly
The Midas Flesh has been building momentum steadily for several issues as The Federation, led by the power-hungry General, plays cat and mouse with the crew of The Prospect. The team now bereft of most of Midas’ body, which has fallen into the General’s hands, begins scheming, returning to their (ultimately successful) plan of a full frontal assault on the Federation home world. The tension in this issue is high, with all of the characters being pushed to their wits’ end. Unfortunately for readers, this causes a lot of the dialogue to sound forced and highly scripted for large portions of the issue. Fatima’s interaction with Joey in the opening pages feels like a sloppy recovery from the fallout of the previous issue. Despite the severity of the situation, Joey doesn’t seem terribly concerned about the arm she’s just lost, and the attempt to play it off as her being focused on the bigger picture is believable, but sloppy, and lacks a lot intensity it has the potential to pack. Similarly, when Joey’s home system and home planet are destroyed, the intensity of the scene quickly fades when the general begins speaking. His dialogue, which has historically been fairly camp, goes over the top and becomes cartoonish in this issue.
Fortunately, not the whole issue falls into this pattern. This issue has some excellent moments. Leading up to the moment where the General informs Joey what he’s done to her home world is an excellent exchange between Sluggo and the crew of The Prospect. North manages to create a wonderful sense of mounting horror from the moment Sluggo appears. As the conversation unfolds, readers end up aligned with Joey and silently echoing her question “Which system is dead?” for a full three pages. Although it’s extremely obvious which system has been decimated, North makes readers share Joey’s hope that maybe it’s not her system, which makes Sluggo’s explanation and Joey’s anguish all the more striking.
Another surprising and wonderful moment is when Cooper quietly speaks to his dead wife as he’s about to release the flesh, a weapon of mass destruction, upon the federation home world. It’s a surprising moment that works really well for this character, who is arguably one the most well developed of the series. If North can achieve this kind of subtle development as the story goes into its penultimate issue, the rest of the series will be treat to read.
Art That Continues To Impress
Paroline and Lamb continue to turn out quirky, dynamic art in this issue. Their distinct style continues to evolve as the series progresses, with a color pallet that grows in complexity with each issue. While the writing this week had a few shortcomings, the same cannot be said for their work. Their wonderful perspective continues to drive the intensity of the series home, and the expressions they draw temper the occasionally over the top writing perfectly.
This week The Midas Flesh fell victim to its own attempts at intensity. While there was absolute potential and some excellent moments, this issue lacks the careful writing the previous issues have had. I give The Midas Flesh a solid 4/5, with the understanding that the art is what saved this issue.