Ever since a strange man compelled her husband to jump out a window, Katya Walker has been on the run. Now, she might have some answers, if she can only keep her stepson under control… Your Major Spoilers review of The Names #5 awaits!
Previously in The Names: Kevin Walker was a successful trader, but he had secrets. When a mysterious man known as The Surgeon walked into his office, he somehow compelled Kevin to jump out the window to his death. His young widow Katya has gone on the run with Kevin’s son, Phillip, in the hopes of finding some information about her husband’s death, while the men who killed him (the titular Names) have sent agents to find Kevin, who may be their only hope of talking to strange creatures known as The Dark Loops.
Also, Philllip really wants to see his step-mother naked… So, that’s fun.
THE HANDS OF THE SURGEON
Interestingly, this book has recently been extended from the announced 8 issues to a 9-issue run, but whether that’s due to sales or the story growing outside the bounds of its original confines is unclear at this time. We open with the aftermath of The Surgeon’s last attack, a man named Flaherty whose dispatch is clearly an example of torture (and an inventive, if particularly brutal brand thereof.) At the same time, halfway around the world, Katya and Kevin’s strange little relationship gets even stranger as she helps him to fulfill his desire to see a naked woman. The unsavory aspects of his fascination with her get a full workout, as the manipulative teen tries to get close to her first as a woman, then by playing to her mother instincts, with equal rate of failure. When the agents of The Names arrive to capture Kevin, they also destroy the computer that held Kevin’s last message to his family, and leaving them once again on the run (but now, as murderers themselves.) While The Names try to hold onto their control as the population begins to rise up against them, Katya has to keep her head and keep her stepson alive…
CONSPIRACY, SEX AND STRANGENESS
This is NOT a book for everyone, but I have to say I enjoy it greatly. The art is lovely throughout, with a thick outer line and coloring heavy on the oranges and yellows through most of the issue. When Kevin kills the man holding Katya hostage halfway through, the blood is a shocking deep red, underlining the horror of their situation. Milligan isn’t afraid to squeeze every drop of awkward out of their relationship, but they manage to keep most shots of Katya from being nothing more than pneumatic eye candy. The only downside comes in the plotting, as ancient conspiracies that control everything naturally make for some opaque understanding of the universe in which the characters operate, and the mystery at the center of it all is still obscure at the halfway point of our story. Still, it’s been a fun ride, and the issue’s cliffhanger leaves me with the hope that some questions are finally about to be answered…
THE BOTTOM LINE: LIKE THE VERTIGO OF OLD
Perhaps knowing that it’s a finite story helps, but I’m really interested in finding out the answers behind The Names, or at least whatever answers might be forthcoming. (With a mystery like this, I’m never sure we’re going to actually learn anything, just that the characters might get a new start.) The Names #5 is a strong issue, with some dynamic art, horror both visual and imagined, as well as a deep discomfort on the part of all the characters, earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall. It’s successful as an individual story as well as a chapter in the ongoing narrative…[taq_review][signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-flag”][/signoff]