It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire as Vess reluctantly joins Grix and the crew of the Sundog. The information they have is huge, but where can they possibly go with it? Find out in Invisible Kingdom #4!
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Christian Ward
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 19, 2019
Previously in Invisible Kingdom: Captain Grix is running out of options. They’re running out of fuel, and between getting caught by the Lux Corporation or dying in space, it’s a toss up as to which is worse. At the religious order on Duni, Vess has told Mother Proxima about the problems with the books, and all she has gotten for her care is being reprimanded. Chance throws them together as they both realize that Lux and the monastery are caught up in a web of money, and they realize they have to meet in person. Vess hands over her data, but before she can sneak back into the monastery, they come looking for her, denouncing her!
A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE CAN BE DANGEROUS
Invisible Kingdom #4 opens with a daring escape from Duni as the floating monastery comes after Vess, basically threatening her with damnation. The monastery may have thrown her out, but she holds fast to her religious beliefs, and right there we get an interesting philosophical conflict between our two main characters. Does the corruption of the religious order bring into question everything it stands for, or is the corruption limited to only a few people? I appreciate a thoughtful book that challenges us with questions like this.
But this is the small community of a ship. Grix has to tell her crew what’s going on. They’re still on the run from Lux, but now they have more solid information about the cargo irregularities, and that means they’re in even more danger. They can’t run for very long, much less forever, and Grix wants just a little bit more information – enough so they’re worth more alive than dead.
The ship’s alarms go off. The monastery has sent a ship of their own to collect Vess to face justice at their hands. Grix refuses, and the ship attacks. With some very clever maneuvering, Grix manages to get away from them. Vess gets in touch with a friend from the monastery, who tells her Mother Proxima has been furious since she left. Oddly, she has also been making pages of lists of locations and numbers. Grix has a talk with Eline, the Lux representative on board, asking her to make clear where her loyalties lie. She thinks they may have a chance dealing with the government on Duni. They make contact and explain the situation, but the government won’t commit.
And then another ship shows up.
There is a terrific mix of action and drama in this book. Grix and Vess are not in a good situation. Their decisions feel like they matter, like they’re really important, but it’s not clear even to us whether the decisions they make will be good or bad in the long run. Their choices make sense now, but this opens up the door for so many possible consequences, and that is a hallmark of great writing.
There is so much to love about the artwork in Invisible Kingdom #4. The sky and space scenes are stunning. The atmosphere of Duni seems to have things in it like drifting jellyfish, and the range of blues is very pretty. Deeper space has darker colors, but there is just so much color involved, and swirly areas like clouds of distant stars, as well as the points of light from closer stars. It keeps it interesting besides just being jaw-droppingly beautiful.
I really like that the characters, while basically humanoid, are obviously not human. They look familiar enough to us that we can read their facial expressions, from open to subtle. But they’re different enough that we clearly feel we are not that close to Earth. Vess’ habit is an interesting design – her broad brimmed hat and veil actually seem to cover her eyes. (Novices having to make their way to the monastery with their eyes covered was introduced in the first issue.) I think there’s some symbolism there.
BOTTOM LINE: A STRONG SCI-FI STORY
The plotline about corruption in Invisible Kingdom #4 is one that resonates in the present day. The characters are complex and interesting. We have a small group of basically normal people who find themselves in position to bring down two major powers who have a lot of resources – which usually doesn’t end very well for the small group. It’s a tense and intelligent story.
Invisible Kingdom #4
Grix and Vess are trying to keep ahead of the authorities as time runs out and the stakes escalate!