That exemplar of science, the improbably named Boone Dias, zeros in with his motley crew on the last portal threatening the end of reality on Earth and the magical fairyland of Ether. See how their adventure ends in this final issue of Ether: The Copper Golems from Dark Horse Comics.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: David Rubin
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 19th, 2018
Previously in Ether: The Copper Golems: Portals between Earth and Ether have begun to fray reality. After a long, epic journey with his misfit crew, Boone Dias hunts for the final portal to close, saving his home and the bizarre world of Ether. But what dark fate awaits him at the conclusion of Ether: The Copper Golems #5?
Ether: The Copper Golems #5 opens with a dazzling sequence as Boone Diaz, with the aid of his precocious zeppelin-piloting daughters vanquishes a Cthulhu-esque tentacled nightmare, saving the day in spectacular fashion. But it all a dream designed to distract Boone from his quest to close the portals between Earth and Ether. Confronting a tricksy goblin, Boone and his friends face the threat of the Copper Golems, who unleashed, claw their way from beneath the ground. An impressive double-page spread by David Rubin shows Boone unleashed against the Golems, and soon he has the last portal closed.
Ether: The Copper Golems #5 begins in fairy tale style, with impressive action and a seeming happy-ending for the heroes. But as writer Matt Kindt reveals, sometimes victory tastes like ashes. After five issues of science fiction-flavored fantasy, where Boone has spent more time than he imagined in the fairy-realm of Ether, he soon discovers that time moves quicker at home. Returning to Earth, he discovers that dark forces on Ether have conspired to ruin his family name and leave him with almost nothing. Which leaves the reader very much on a cliffhanger for the next series.
This final issue acts very much as a wrap up to the earlier books, before pivoting to establishing the storyline for the next series. As a result, there’s the sense of the storyline being slightly rushed so everything is neatly tied off. For the most part, Kindt manages the balancing act with enough deftness that although the reader senses they are being hurried along, there’s enough time spent lingering on key moments that you don’t necessarily feel shortchanged. But after such an epic series, one would’ve hoped the pay-off would’ve been slightly more spectacular.
That said, the actual ending to the series is grimly dark. For all his bravado and faith in science, Boone has to face up to the devastating effects of his time in Ether. As in all good fairy tales, the time differential between Earth and Ether is accelerated. Gone are the precocious young daughter’s he had on Earth – at the end of the issue, he is left with one daughter whose life was ruined by those who ruined Boone’s reputation on Earth. Her broken recounting of what happened in his absence is heart-wrenching, especially when you counterpoint it against the joyful sense of elan earlier in Ether: The Copper Golems #5.
While Kindt works his magic of an increasingly bleak script, David Rubin dominates with striking visuals and use of light and shade. The last scenes in the issue, set at night in Venice, as a broken Boone confronts his sole surviving daughter, are horrendous to behold. Gone is the confident victor in Ether, replaced by a wild-eyed broken man struggling to come to terms with the cost of his obsession with Ether. The visit to the grave of his other daughter, a page rendered in black tinged in crimson, is the highlight of the issue. The reader, purely through the visuals gets a sense of a man who has found a reason to live, a reason to wreak vengeance on those who cheated him of a magnificent victory and homecoming.
BOTTOM LINE – COMPELLING
The ending to Ether: The Copper Golems #5 is perhaps not what devoted readers wanted, or indeed expected. But, there is a dark grace to it as Kindt elegantly shifts gears during the course of the issue. What starts as a fairy tale finish, swiftly becomes something akin to the traditional fairy tales the Brothers Grimm collecting two centuries ago. Coupled with some astonishing visuals from Rubin, Ether: The Copper Golems #5, while perhaps missing the mark slightly in terms of wrapping up the overall story arc, in and of itself is a remarkable read.