Multiple storylines begin to coalesce in Evolution #14 as man’s fate begins to manifest and three people do their best to avert, accommodate and save in the face of the seeming inevitable transformation of man into…what? Three different writers tell three different, but connected stories about the end of the world, and the very human reactions to it by three deeply ordinary people doing their best to come to terms with total change.
Writers: James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge & Christopher Sebela
Artist: Joe Infurnari
Colorist; Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Publisher: Image Comics, Inc.
Release Date: February 20th, 2019
Previously in Evolution: Three different writers weave three different stories into one fascinating series as science, faith and inevitable change come together in Evolution #14. In one story, a scientist flees the CDC, taking his son with him on a journey into madness, or salvation. In another, a woman finds that her missing wife has become something more. And in the final strand, a woman rediscovers her faith at the same time she discovers how badly man can mistreat man…
THREE FATES, ONE DESTINY?
Evolution #14 continues the story that depicts the apparent end of humanity. Picking up from previous events, and told by three different writers, Evolution #14 is a stunning tale of seeming madness, the love of one person for another, and selflessness in a selfish world.
The three storylines cover an evolutionary change that appears to be accelerating as Kavallis, Hannah and Abe come to terms in their own ways with what is happening. A doctor working for the CDC takes his son on a road trip, where he tells his son a fairy tale about a knight who warned the kingdom of the presence of a dragon, but the kingdom chooses to ignore his dire warnings. A woman seeks her wife, Rochelle, who has vanished into the forests. What she finds will redefine what love looks like. And a young woman finds her faith in the darkest of places.
Recently, your reviewer opined on Twitter that with stories centered on the end of the world stories, the lead-up and actual apocalypse are far more interesting than what happens to the survivors afterward. The Walking Dead is a case in point. Are we really that interested in watching people hoe peas in a prison yard? No! We want the first tentative outbreaks, the gossip and rumor, the government conspiracy and cover-up, and then the headlong leap into disaster.
Happily, Evolution #14 is all buildup. Granted, there’s no bloodshed or mayhem, but what there is will hold you in suspense and on the edge for the duration of the issue. The storyline with the doctor and his son held my interest the most, as it is a meditation on the fine line between belief and madness. The doctor is utterly convinced that humanity is beginning to transform, and he’s sure he can do something to stop it. What exactly does he hold in the cooler he keeps with him, and who paid the price? The element of is he crazy or is he the only sane man on the planet, held me captivated for the whole story. And while the other events and images from the rest of the book provide the answer, such is the great storytelling that even with the evidence in front of my eyes, there’s still a part of me that says – he’s crazy as a coot, you know? Or is he?
LOVE AND FAITH
The other two storylines are equally as compelling and provide a more emotionally stable counterbalance to the doctor’s seeming madness. The woman looking for her wife, Rochelle, is willing to do anything to find her and take her home, even to face what might be a monster. Hers is probably the most interesting of the strands in Evolution #14, because when she faces Rochelle, she doesn’t run screaming into the night, but is prepared to stand and ask her the question that will soon consume all of humanity, ‘Are you still you?’
The last strand will be personal to some – how a young woman finds her faith in dire circumstances, and selflessness in the face of people who have cast off all pretenses to be working for their fellows. The cynicism of the men around her helps kindle her faith; instead of turning away, she turns towards helping those being afflicted by the evolutionary change. The extended internal monologue about faith and belief, coupled with the images around her, are compelling should make you think.
Mention of the images brings me to artist Joe Infurnari’s stellar work. His line work, use of shading and smudging, brings the world of Evolution #14 to a grimy, mucky life. Coupled with Jordan Boyd’s dialed back color tones, this issue’s art eschews the definite article and moves towards a world on the tipping point of crossing over, with the blurring of life from one form to another wonderfully evoked.
BOTTOM LINE – CREEPING CATASTROPHE
Evolution #14 is a thoughtful story that blends several stories into a cohesive whole. It’s not flashy, because it doesn’t need to be. These are grounded characters living out their lives in what feels like a credible reality. The density of the storytelling makes it feel like a novelistic treatment of what in other hands could be cheap, hastily written knock off that went for quick thrills at the expense of telling a compelling story. I’m sad I came to this so late, but glad that there’s so much to go back and catch up on.