In Unearth #10, the End is here! Learn about the secret history of the cosmos, as Not-Frankie spills the beans about how everything came to be, and the promise of Heaven or Hell for those who make the choice. Who will fight, and who willing transforms into brain matter? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!
Writers: Cullen Bunn & Kyle Strahm
Artist: Baldemar Rivas
Editor: Joel Enos
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: March 3rd, 2021
Previously in Unearth: Unexplained mass mutations in Mexico summon a team to investigate the phenomenon, leading them to an extensive cave system which contains the true, horrifying source of the mutations. The expedition comes unstuck in the most spectacular way, and the survivors flee to the surface, where the creature they discovered below ground has now begun transforming the wider population. It all goes downhill from there…
And I mean, WOW! What a fantastic finale Unearth #10 proves to be. Writers Cullen Bunn and Kyle Strahm go full HP Lovecraft (without the disgusting racism, of course) in their explanation of what the heck has been going on throughout the Unearth series. Now, in their final issue, the true horror of existence is fully revealed to the surviving members of the military/scientific team that ventured deep underground into Site 17.
Lovecraft’s ability to blend awesome vistas with the unending, uncaring horror of existence is his true gift to horror. Stories like At the Mountains of Madness or The Shadow out of Time are examples of this, with tiny humanity playing against a canvas stretching billions of years into the past and the future. Unearth #10 does something of the same in the series finale, providing a backdrop against which humanity has to make a choice as the Beastmother finally begins to awaken.
AND WITH STRANGE AEONS, EVEN DEATH MAY DIE
It takes creators of skill and accomplishment to create something as awesome (in all senses of the word) as Unearth #10. Essentially a giant flashback explaining how the mess the team searching Site 17 occurred, it takes the reader into the deep past, and offers an explanation of the existence of the cosmos, and a reason for why humanity has begun to transform so utterly. This is where artist Baldemar Rivas plays such a critical role, and pulls it off fantastically well.
Frankie’s (or whatever she has become since her death) narration is underpinned by Rivas’ artwork, which brings to vivid life the scale of the history she is explaining. And even that is only what it is like to glimpse the world through a pinprick in a sheet of paper, but what we see is truly mind bending and blasting. A creature that dwarfs the stars, upon which a magnificent galaxy spanning alien species builds its cities, dominates the page. It’s arrival on Earth destroys that civilization, proving that it was no more than an ant-farm against the Beastmother’s size. The way the Beastmother’s arrival on Earth is depicted demonstrates an ability to bring the cosmic intimately close to us, in how that arrival influences the shaping of our humanity.
But as I said earlier, all this galaxy spanning imagery only works in Unearth #10 because the characters we’ve come to know and sort of love are forced to interact with the Beastmother. Some, as we see at the end, give in to its siren-like call. Others, such as Nails and Major Kul, decide that fighting is the only answer to the threat of paradise imposed. That final image as the survivors flee beneath the shadow of the awakened Beastmother, will linger long in the memory.
BOTTOM LINE: BIG, REAL BIG
Unearth #10 doesn’t work unless we see the final choices the survivors make regarding whether they allow themselves willingly to be absorbed in the awakening Beastmother, or go down fighting as only humanity can. Is the promise of Heaven enough to want to give up humanity’s primal urge to fight and remain independent, or should we battle on, even where the odds are utterly hopeless, and preserve a fragment of our individuality and humanity? You be the judge.
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Ending a series on an extended flashback may seem like a strange way to wrap things up, but truly, Unearth #10 is an absolute blast to read and savor. Come for the explanation, but wallow in the beautiful, terrifying imagery while humanity is led to its final, deserved, award...