It is a twist of fate when Nathan Bright – formerly Ian Black – ends up in the hands of The Pearl. What price are people willing to pay for the ultimate revenge fantasy?
THE WEATHERMAN #4
Writer: Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12, 2018
Previously in The Weatherman: We learned about the guy who hired The Marshall and White Light, and that he is a thoroughly nasty piece of work. The President has figured out that Amanda Cross might have been doing a secret operation for Fitch, and orders her to be found. Nathan and Amanda are on the run, while pretty much everyone chases after them. After their tempers rise, Amanda goes to pull her gun on Nathan, only to find him pointing it at her…
YET ANOTHER TWIST IN THE STORY
The Weatherman #4 opens up with Mr. Garren, whom we have not met before, delivering five crates of the drug Mnemonium to a woman in black who calls herself the Headmistress. (Make note of her thugs, who are wearing suits with short pants.) The deal goes off, but the Headmistress orders an attack on Mr. Garren and his men, only to find out he has planted a detonator on them. There is a brief, bloody firefight, and Garren and his friend leave with their money, and the Mnemonium.
The next scene is idyllic. Amanda and Mrs. Morgan are sitting on a hill overlooking a park full of children. Amanda’s little boy runs off to play with the others, and almost immediately thereafter, the explosion happens, coming so fast across the field that it burns Amanda’s little boy before he can get back to her. Then she wakes up from this dream to find herself in the alley where she was last with Nathan. Her head hurts. Her gun is there. Nathan is gone.
Then the storylines start to cross. Garren throws a party – after all, he’s wealthy now. But he doesn’t plan to sell the Mnemonium – he plans to let it rain down, to give everyone memories. This is crosscut with scenes of Amanda fighting her way in through some fancy house, and eventually, we see they’re in the same place. The Mnemonium indeed rains down, and Garren leaves with one of the women from the party. Up in his bedroom, as they start getting it on, Amanda shows up and holds a blade to his throat. She is nothing if not direct. They know each other; she needs his help; he is mad at her, and punches her. This is not a good day for Amanda. But she really needs his help to find Nathan.
What of Nathan? He has found himself a bear costume to use as a disguise, but he cannot keep away from Brutal Noodles where he runs into the Marshall and White Light. He denies being Nathan Bright, but the clerk calls him by name.
Garren takes Amanda to the Marshall’s ship and tells her that he and White Light work for a psychopath called The Pearl. If The Pearl wants Nathan, Nathan is gone. Garren won’t cross The Pearl; he used to work for him. Amanda wonders what The Pearl wants with him, and her question is answered as The Pearl (masked) makes a TV announcement. He has the terrorist Ian Black and a rare opportunity for some winning bidders – they get the chance to virtually maim and murder him, and he’ll feel everything as though it were really happening to him (as we saw demonstrated last issue). And for a bit extra, they can even get a Nemo package to relive their new memories.
The more we find out about the world of The Weatherman #4, the more dystopian and depressing it becomes, but it is still intensely interesting. And the art is engaging and immersive. We open in an industrial hangar which looks just futuristic enough to believe it’s on Mars, but not so much that we don’t recognize what it’s supposed to be. We meet several new characters in this issue, some only briefly, but they all have their own panache. The Headmistress is quite shapely in her black dress, but when we see her up close, she is quite elderly (but with good hair color and make-up). Her thugs in their schoolboy uniforms are great too. But it’s the facial expressions that do so much of the speaking here. Garren’s face when he detonates the explosives is priceless.
There is a fair amount of blood and carnage. Amanda’s dream of her little boy dying in the terrorist attack is horrifying, calling to mind images I’ve seen from Hiroshima. This world is not a pretty place. Which makes the party scene so much more of a contrast, though it makes sense too. Some people are dying to remember; some people love to have a chance to forget. And when we get to the big finish, when The Pearl makes his offer, it is over the top and manic and callous and awful all at the same time. The art just really fits with the story and gives us a world which is eerily like our own, but as seen through a magnifying mirror in some respects.
BOTTOM LINE: A CONTINUED FEELING OF “WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?”
We already know the stakes are high in The Weatherman #4, and now the difficulty level has also been raised. Desperation is starting to set in – and what will people do when they are desperate? Things are not looking very good for Nathan’s chances at this point, and the enemies are formidable. The suspense level is excellent.
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