Nathan Bright and Amanda Cross are on the run back on Mars, with two hired killers in pursuit. Before too long, this snowballs as their faces are plastered all over the media and now everyone is on the lookout for them. Can they get away long enough to recover Ian Black’s memories?
Writer: Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 15, 2018
Previously in The Weatherman: Nathan Bright, a much-beloved weatherman on Mars, is attacked by hitmen and arrested on charges of terrorism. After being tortured, it is apparent that he knows nothing. Ian Black, the terrorist who killed billions on Earth, had his memory completely erased before becoming Nathan Bright, who knows literally nothing of this past. However, the Sword of God group is planning another attack. Only if they can recover Ian Black’s memories do they stand a chance of preventing the next attack?
EVEN MORE DYSTOPIAN THAN WE SUSPECTED
This is a mature readers book, and The Weatherman #3 opens up on a very bloody scene indeed. A naked, badly beaten prisoner named Azim is rescued by a guy in body armor. There are a few pages of this rescue featuring a bunch of blown-up guards and blood-spattered walls, and then the rescuer shoots and kills Azim. What is even more horrific is that this was virtual reality – intensely real virtual reality (adapted from porn industry technology, naturally). The guy in the body armor is apparently the head of this organization (and I don’t think we’ve seen him previously in the series). Azim had been turned down for a raise and stole a shipment of narcotics in retaliation. His punishment for this wasn’t the virtual reality ordeal – for that, the head guy killed Azim’s wife, framed Azim for the murder, and sold his children. And now he lets Azim’s father-in-law kill him while he streams it for money. And this is the fellow who hired Kade, the Marshal, and White Light. Wow. I hate that guy.
Somewhere, on the surface of Mars (in a terraformed area, because there is jungle and water), Nathan and Amanda are making their way back to civilization. Then we cut to the Marshal and White Light, who find the abandoned shuttle and start tracking them as the Marshal makes a call to the news network. We cut back to Nathan and Amanda, where he is eating tacos and she discusses their next step. The doctor who wiped Ian Black’s memory, Miriam Nyseth, is missing along with the hard drives she stored the memories on. To retrieve the memories, they need to find her or her assistant. With great comedic timing, Nathan says, “At least the whole solar system’s not after us,” right on cue for their faces to be broadcast on video screens everywhere.
Meanwhile, the President is in her office with her staff trying to figure out what they can about the attack on the security station. The Sword of God claimed has claimed responsibility. She also knows that Amanda Cross was on the station and left. She discusses this privately with Jared (presumably her chief of staff, who has a really creepy smile). They know that Director Fitch had a history of occasional secret operations, and they think he may have had something going on. The president orders Jared to find Amanda and report back to her.
Nathan and Amanda are even more on the run, as it appears that most Martian citizens go armed. They steal a car and flee. Nathan offers to drive, but Amanda insists on driving and shooting. There is a comic scene when Nathan warns her, “Nuns and the handicapped!” (which brought to mind the scene in the 1966 Batman movie, where ‘Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”) Amanda turns the wheel over to Nathan and we get a hell of a car chase through the city, which is broadcast, and which is seen by the killers.
They escape to the underbelly of the city, where they find someone who has overdosed Mnemonium – a drug that lets you experience past events. People use it to remember lost loved ones, but some people never come back. This is so pertinent because memory is one of the running threads in this story. And this makes Nathan ask what will happen to him. If he gets Ian Black’s memories back, is he going to be killed? Is the Nathan Bright he is now going to cease to be? And they cannot recover the memories without running them through his brain – but doesn’t he get a say in any of this? As his temper rises, Amanda goes to draw her gun only to find that Nathan has it in hand.
MARS IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE RED PLANET
The more I see of the art in The Weatherman #3, the more it grows on me. I think you really get a sense of the pencil lines through the ink, and the drawing is dynamic. There are the occasional highly exaggerated facial expressions depicting intense emotion, but that doesn’t detract from the overall feel of the book. The opening is, as I mentioned previously, is horrific, and the characters look genuinely terrified. The bad guy is awful and uncaring, except about his bottom line, and everything in the art shows us that in spades.
The brief jungle scene on Mars is gorgeous, and such a huge contrast with the desert, or the grim underbelly of the city. We get more and more of a sense of how dystopian this world is, how easily public opinion is swayed, and how low you can go when you’re isolated. The chase scene is tremendous. There is speed, there are explosions, there is crazy stunt driving – it is about as close to seeing it as a movie as you can get on paper. It is over-the-top wild, yet it is utterly clear what is happening.
BOTTOM LINE: A HARD STORY THAT’S HARD TO KEEP AWAY FROM
There are a lot of things, besides the level of violence, that make The Weatherman #3 a hard read for me. But it is a hard read in a good way. Different people have different reasons for the violence they inflict, and this is a world with a lot of people who have suffered a great deal of loss. I seriously wonder about the various characters and what they are going to do, what is going to happen to them, and what kind of resolution can they reach?