An uneasy alliance of former enemies tries to stop a potential terrorist attack like the one that devastated Earth. What if Nathan Bright’s real memories are on Earth? Find out in The Weatherman Vol. 2 #1!
Writer: Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Colorist: Moreno Disinio
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 26, 2019
Previously in The Weatherman: Everyone on Mars, including government agents and bounty hunters, is after Nathan Bright, the titular weatherman. Everybody loved him – until they found out he was really Ian Black, the man responsible for a terrorist attack on Earth which left billions dead. It turns out Black wiped his memory and has no recollection of what he’s done. But now the terrorist group, the Sword of God, is threatening to do it again and time is running out to stop them. The only way to get information on them is to recover Black’s memory.
SO GOOD AND SO HORRIFYING
I am not typically a fan of violent books, but when the violence serves a purpose, or tells us more about the world and the characters, so that it becomes an integral part of the story, it can be very powerful. Such is the case in The Weatherman Vol. 2 #1. As much as I dread it, because it’s hard to believe anything good can come out of this story, I am really happy to see it back. And this is a solid jumping on point. The story picks up shortly after where it left off after Vol. 1, but this new arc deftly fills you in on the backstory.
As it opens, we are above Earth, which looks beautiful from space. But there’s a network of satellites or stations surrounding it, and on a closer view, they all have enormous “Danger!” signs. Earth has been quarantined. A ship crashes through one of the signs on its way to the surface. The guards threaten to take action against the ship, but then don’t bother.
On board the ship, of course, are our central characters: Nathan Bright, the weatherman; Amanda Cross, government agent; White Light and the Marshal, two bounty hunters; and Garren, Amanda’s ex and sometime criminal. Thinking about them, none of them are all that likeable – they’re under a lot of stress, and they have some serious flaws. But they’re interesting nonetheless, and their temporary alliance makes sense here.
All we knew coming into this volume was that there had been a terrorist attack that wiped out billions of people on Earth. Now we learn that Earth is still populated, and heavily so. In fact, they’re on the brink of population collapse. As if the stakes in this book could not get more complicated. The survivors have to send some of their number off to die so that the group, as a whole, can continue to survive. Rationing, scarcity, and survival make a cruel equation.
Back on the ship we get an introduction to the characters and their personalities along with more information. Miners on Callisto vanished, and when they found the bodies, they found they had been consumed by an ancient virus. The U.S. tried to weaponize the virus, but it was too dangerous. So they locked it away. This virus was stolen by Ian Black, who turned it over to Jazen Jenner of the Sword of God, and he used it on Earth. While there are pockets of survivors, there is no cure. Imagine that – to survive and be living a death sentence. Amanda also thinks that Ian Black’s memory is being kept on Earth, so that’s why they’re here.
There’s a cutaway scene to the president as she’s talking with a councilman. He’s trying to make a deal about the fate of the people on Earth. After all, they’re bound to die anyway, and the president is not terribly popular right now. This scene feels so uncomfortable and so plausible at the same time.
That’s true of the whole book. While it is set in the future with a lot of things we don’t have, people are still people. Play up some of our own less-than-positive traits, and you get an uncomfortable mirror. But, like a train wreck, you simply cannot look away.
CLOSING IN ON EARTH
The art in The Weatherman #1 is terrifically imaginative. Earth from space looks so blue, but as we cut in to a city of survivors, what is striking is how many people are gathered in such a small area, and the tempers that are just under the surface. As Kestrel, the leader, sends someone of her own family off for sacrifice, we see anger, terror, resignation, and fear. It is quite powerful.
On board the ship, there are similar levels of tension, exacerbated by Nathan’s cluelessness. He’s watching (and loudly critiquing) his replacement on TV. He gets White Light twerking. He’s about the only one who unabashedly enjoys the food Garren cooks for them (of which White Light takes a bowl of ramen and smashes Amanda in the face with it). Eventually Nathan is left alone at the dinner table, and in a heartbreaking panel, we see a ghostly image – the memory of his dog who was killed earlier, back when we all thought Nathan was merely Nathan.
But really, the jaw-dropping scene in this issue takes place on Earth, when the team arrive and suit up to go outside. There’s a double splash of an abandoned city, falling apart, and running through the center of it like a river is a glacial flowage worth of bones of the dead. This is Ian Black’s legacy.
BOTTOM LINE: OFF TO THE RACES
The Weatherman Vol. 2 #1 is off to a very strong start. None of the original conflicts have been forgotten, and now we see Earth in addition to Mars and governmental stations in space. The scale of the terrorist attack is much more visceral, adding even more urgency to an already frenzied plot. Again, it is a solid jumping on point, if violent but thoughtful sci-fi is your thing.
The Weatherman Vol. 2 #1
Unlikely allies, desperate times, and monstrous consequences converge in The Weatherman #1!