The mission to recover Ian Black’s memories continues to be brutal, and the clock is ticking. Does the memory drive still exist? The lives of billions depend on it. Find out more in The Weatherman Vol. 2 #4!
Writer: Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Colorist: Moreno Dinisio
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Josh Johns
Publisher: Image Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 18, 2019
Previously in The Weatherman: The crew of the Disco Queen meet the young girl, Pace, who leads them to Dr. Nyseth’s grave. With a little exploration, they find the hidden lab nearby where Nyseth had worked. Alas, her memory drives are not there. They do learn that what destroyed Earth is a biophagus, much more terrifying than a virus. It’s an organism that feeds on DNA and can mimic creatures they consume. The remaining scientist is working on a way to destroy the Biophagus, but he also has the way into another lab Nyseth worked in. There are more survivors on Earth, and the way they’ve been able to survive is by sacrificing people to the Biophagus to appease it. The President considers a plan to destroy life on Earth in order to reclaim it and wipe out the Biophagus. And Pace’s pet, Pickles, is a Biophagus construct that has somehow forged a symbiotic relationship with the little girl.
A CONTINUING NAILBITER
I love the interlude at the start of The Weatherman Vol. 2 #4. Amanda Cross, The Marshal, and Pace are watching Nathan Bright who is learning to shoot. He can’t hit a nearby target and blames it on having to focus instead of letting loose. In his goofy style, he lets loose, flinging the pistol around and shooting wildly, infuriating everyone around him, especially when all his shots hit the center of the target exactly. Then he starts mispronouncing “probably”, which irritates Cross.
They make their way to Syngen Station, in the Arctic Circle, to find Dr. Nyseth’s office and search it. Nathan manages to free a large creature, trigger the safety doors, and get separated from Cross and the scientist. Amanda comes face to face with Kestrel, leader of the outpost on Earth, who captures her, the Marshal, White Light, and Pace. (Pace asks Pickles to disperse.) This leaves Nathan, who just found the memory drives, alone on the station. Well, alone briefly, until he comes face to face, I believe, with Jenner, leader of the Sword of God, who wants to turn him over to the Biophagus.
This book keeps us on our toes. The characters may not be terribly sympathetic, but they aren’t stupid. Even Nathan, who has perfected a childishly annoying persona, is terrifically cunning beneath it all. These people have the potential to pull this off, but it isn’t going to be easy by a long shot.
Through Kestrel, we learn a bit more about Earth. The people who remain inhabit Skyborough, a floating prison designed to keep criminals off the surface, out of sight, and out of mind. Eventually similar technology was used to house the poor or otherwise undesirable. She also points out something new. The Council has been dropping off furnaces, the size of city blocks, that burn fossil fuels. The hope is that it will raise the temperature of Earth enough to kill the virus, never mind that it will kill everyone else.
We also see that the Sword of God has a presence in Skyborough. The suspense is tangible and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
The art in The Weatherman Vol. 2 #4 is wide-ranging – this chapter covers a lot of ground and a lot of crazy situations, and the team steps up to show them to us vividly. Syngen Station looks like an abandoned lab and is full of interesting, if disused, equipment in various stages of disrepair. There’s a lot of detail. The creature Nathan lets loose is a giant sea creature that resembles various tentacled horrors. Seeing it break through the glass is dynamic, noisy with sound effects, and full of water and tentacles.
I’ve grown to really like how the characters are drawn as well. There is some economy of line which is elegantly balanced by a terrific sense of movement. These characters spend so much time being frustrated, angry, and tense, and we can feel it. And then Nathan breezes through being preposterously goofy and drawn to match. On the one hand, it gives us some comic relief, but it accentuates his willful idiosyncrasies to the point where we want to smack him almost as much as everyone else does.
BOTTOM LINE: SMART AND SUSPENSEFUL
The plot of The Weatherman Vol. 2 #4 keeps unfolding brilliantly. The situations are difficult; the characters are smart but flawed. It’s thoughtful science fiction that extrapolates from current events in a way that forces us to look at ourselves in the mirror and do some thinking, and I love it!
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The Weatherman #4
Nathan Bright comes face to face with the memory drive of Ian Black, without Amanda Cross looking on.