Finally! A chance to solve the mystery of Chet Charles and finish a documentary about the Otherworld – if the Eidolon is working well enough, that is. Take the jump for our review of By Night #10 from BOOM! Studios.
Previously in By Night: Jane discovers that her mother Brenda used to work for CharlesCo. Not only that, but she’s been to the Otherworld. It turns out that ProJect Golf was a military project, but Chet Charles and his team did not want the Otherworld drawn into war on Earth. Dr. Gramercy and Chet’s assistant Tabby strand a general and his cronies on the Otherworld. After he found out, Chet went through to try to find them. Joan Li, lawyer for CharlesCo has been snooping around Chet’s house and is convinced that he’s stolen something. Jane and Heather may not have much time!
ONCE MORE THROUGH THE PORTAL!
By Night #10 opens with Heather organizing the gang for one last foray into the Otherworld – their chance to track down Chet Charles and complete Jane’s documentary! Andy bows out – he’s got some roaches he needs to deal with. And Chip is out too; he has to stop Joan Li from breaking into his garage. Barney is all set to go along, but Jane wants him to keep watch by the Eidolon. It’s going to be just Jane, Heather, and Gardt.
Through the portal they go, where they get a great view of Mount Eucchurus with its single eye looking at them. The girls hope that’s nowhere near where they need to go, but no, it’s exactly where they’re going. Gardt reassures them that since Chet hollowed out the living mountain’s brain, it’s unlikely to be able to obliterate them with its “Fire Stare.” They can get there following the Harrowing Trail. Or the Black Tunnel of Maggots, Worms, and Crawling Things. The Harrowing Trail it is!
Chet goes to see Joan at the CharlesCo Trust. She thinks he has some company assets in his garage. He feels that the Trust ran the company into the ground. Meeting the members of the Trust doesn’t sit any better – Chet doesn’t trust any of them. But Joan has more on her mind – she wants Chet to join the Trust.
The journey to Mount Eucchurus is long, giving us an “Are we there yet?” moment along the way, and Gardt gives them more information in his inimitable deadpan style. They have to be careful – Chet sees all and knows all from within the eye of Eucchurus… with his binoculars, that is. They also see the crystal statue of a warrior woman. The Otherworld continues to be richly populated with interesting things.
The original CharlesCo Trust was Chet’s lawyer (Joan’s partner, now deceased), Dr. Gramercy, and Dr. Tabitha Leone, who is the woman now known as the Ghost Lady. Joan has been adding to the trust to get it to do things, but Dr. Gramercy has veto power, and is pretty cranky. However, he has said that he will give up his stake in the company in exchange for…The Eidolon. And Joan has no idea what that is. Yet.
Gardt continues with his storytelling. Mount Euchhurus used to be two separate cliff brothers who were driven together. The mountain used to sing and to proclaim things. Gardt’s skull, Klay, is pretty sure the reason it stopped is all because of Chet Charles. Gardt does not agree. Finally, they reach the mountain and start climbing up, trying to avoid the death traps. They do get caught, and Chet approaches them, mistaking Jane for her mother. After introductions all around, it turns out he is interested in doing a documentary.
As if things were not weird enough with the CharlesCo Trust, they’re at the point where Chet Charles can be legally declared dead, and Joan has a presentation for them. Someone has an idea for where to take the property next – basically creating a bug farm, turning insect protein into food for animals…and people.
YET MORE INTERESTING PLACES
By Night #10 continues with the art style we’ve become accustomed to. Characters are loosely drawn and are sometimes a little like caricatures, but they do have some really nice expressive moments. It’s the little details with them that round them out. During the opening planning meeting, Gardt is there and is being ignored, but he remains cheerful and tries to count himself in on the group going to the Otherworld. And Barney films the girls going through the portal, on his phone, in portrait mode (much to Jane’s chagrin).
What I really love are the scenes in the Otherworld. In every issue, we learn a little more, and everything fits together more. The statue of the Crystal Lady is quite striking, and the use of color contrast for her really makes her pop. There’s also a scene where Heather and Jane come face to face with the Spider Queen, which is not exactly what you might expect, except for also being creepy.
BOTTOM LINE: IS THERE ENOUGH TIME FOR JANE AND HEATHER?
A tale of exploration such as we see in By Night #10 is made all the more compelling now that we know there is only limited time. That sense of urgency add to the sense that we want to know what’s going on, and how things are going to resolve. So many things in the Otherworld seem to have changed since Chet Charles moved there. Have those changes been too drastic?
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By Night #10
Jane and Heather reach Chet Charles – what is his story for the last few decades?