The first of the copper golems meets its demise in a battle of…is it magic, or is it math? But this is only a step on the journey headed now for the Pyramids of Egypt! Take the jump for a review of Ether: The Copper Golems #3 from Dark Horse Comics.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: David Rubin
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 18, 2018
Previously in Ether: The Copper Golems: Boone Dias (investigator extraordinaire) leads his team to the first rift between Earth and the Ether, where they find one of the titular copper golems – a giant spider! Not intimidated in the least, Grandor leaps headfirst into the fray!
ONE GOLEM DOWN AND MORE TO GO
Ether: The Copper Golems #3 starts right where the last issue left off, with Grandor diving into the volcano to land on the spider golem and get to work. Accompanying this is Boone’s voiceover, explaining just how mundane this all is, which is actually pretty humorous. (Especially if you’ve ever known that guy.) There’s an amusing take on the fight, where it takes place off-panel, advanced by comments from Violet and Glum over a background of fascinating sound effects. Meanwhile, Boone drives in a piton, ties a rope around himself, and leaps in to help. After all, the volcano is about to blow. While Grandor concentrates on his magic, Boone finds an opening in the golem and finds a bank of vacuum tubes filled with something. Grandor seals the rift, spots Boone, and grabs him to get him out. There’s a charming conversation where each of them is convinced he did all the work, and Boone explains how Grandor’s magic is, in fact, math. With physical gestures and verbal incantations, but still math.
Boone manages to snag the contents of one of the vacuum tubes he broke, and finds that it is a paper fragment covered in writing. It appears to be a handwritten draft of a novel in a familiar writing style which he cannot quite place. I had a couple thoughts myself, and it will be interesting to see whether I was on the right track or not. I like how this book engages the reader so handily. Mysteries are more fun when you feel like you are figuring them out along with the protagonist.
Mysteries are one thing, and closing the rifts is another. The next rift is in the Lands of Kemet, which corresponds to Egypt on earth. Along the way we get a little conversation between Boone and Violet which hints at their backstory, which is an epilogue to each issue, yet relates to the current story. Violet insists that doesn’t matter, and soon they are in Kemet, with its blowing sands, giant sphinxes, and the pyramid where the next breach is located. Inside, there is a smell of decay and lots of fly larvae. Boone takes a closer look with a special lens, panics and warns his companions not to let any of them land on their skin. And finds himself alone in the dark. Except for the giant mummies.
TAKE TIME TO ENJOY THE VIEW
The art in Ether: The Copper Golems #3 continues to be distinct, expressive, and intensely colorful. The spider golem is a mix of organic and mechanical, with light radiating from inside, and it is just so interesting to look at. The depiction of Grandor working his magic is a cool take – he grabs strands of blue energy that look and act rather like string – his fingers are entwined in them like he’s working a really complicate cat’s cradle. In the close-ups, bright chartreuse magic sigils are aligned with each strand.
I didn’t mention above that when Boone joins the fight, some commentary by Violet and Glum continues. Their expressions tell us a lot about what’s going on, and the interesting sound effects continue. I love those bits. A little later, when they are traveling to Kemet, there is a panel I particularly enjoy. Boone and his companions are on a large, toothy creature with a “Sea Cab Inc.” logo on its side. Boone says, “Wonderful isn’t it? What the human imagination can come up with?” while the underwater is full of fascinating creatures. It’s so meta. And then the next page is a brilliantly colored view of the river winding into Kemet. This book is so pretty.
The desert scenes call to mind Lawrence of Arabia, at least for me. The sphinxes are rather awe-inspiring, as they are large, living creatures marching across the desert. But the mummies inside the pyramid, oh, they’re downright creepy.
BOTTOM LINE: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES TO FASCINATE
While we know that the main point of the adventure – find and seal the rifts – is straightforward, Ether: The Copper Golems #3 is about the journey. What we find along the way is not always expected. Things are familiar with unfamiliar twists. Boone rides the knife edge between being smart and incredibly lucky and being downright crazy. I think the art helps a little in distracting us briefly from the deeper plot, but each book just draws us further in.