Three issues in to this four issue series, and I still don’t know what quite to make of it. It’s very weird, funny, and it’s hardly MAX at all, the story is wide-ranging and doesn’t quite make sense, and the villains are pretty fucking terrible. One thing I do know is that the covers by Francavilla are amazing, of that, there can be no doubt.
Hope kicks things off inside the digital world, with EVA meeting Michael Shivas, who it turns out is her creator. This was an odd scene, but the fact that Shivas created EVA is interesting and important, and could play a decent sized part in the ending of this story. Whilst EVA is trying to convince her dad to drop the water and allow Fantomex to live, Fantomex himself is in the midst of trying not to be eaten by a Kraken. He is able to crack open the Kraken’s brain and punch it, in probably the only part of this issue that earns being Mature Readers, seeing a fist go into a brain is pretty hardcore. Just after punching the Kraken to brain death, EVA is able to convince Shivas to drop the defences, saving Fantomex from drowning and allowing him to continue his search for that key he’s after. He is after a key right? I forgot.
Meanwhile, the agents of Grover Lane continue to be incredibly over-the-top in their villainy, I can’t decide if it’s funny or just sad. Agent Flemyng is delivered to one of them to be raped (I think?), but at the last moment she whispers that the two others have been conspiring against him, and hey, it turns out they have. The one with the ascot sticks a tentacly hand out of his forehead, and attacks the other, killing him. He then proceeds to tell Flemyng the origins behind their superpowers. Three years ago, Grover Lane were flying a plane over Argentina, when they crash-landed in the mountains. Here, one of their number was eaten by some weird, alien bugs. The other agents killed these bugs, and, like those Rugby players in that film, ate them to survive. This sent them to sleep for months, and when they awoke, they had superpowers. This is a pretty cool origin, and I wonder if their alien parts are why they want to destroy the world? It would make sense.
Back under the sea, Fantomex is wandering around, and he comes across Shivas’ lab, where he finds his dead body floating in a tube, connected to cyber-space I guess. EVA tries to talk to Fantomex, to explain things, but he ignores her, and whilst we don’t actually see him take the key, we do see him head back to see Grover Lane, where he proceeds to get tentacled, and put out of commission by the head Grover Lane dude. He then gains access to the laser satellite, knocks out the female agent, and fires a laser at some city, killing 2 million people, which is quite a way to end an issue.
There’s a lot to wrap up in issue four, I’m very intrigued by what Andrew Hope will do, how is Fantomex going to stop Grover Lane, what does Shivas have to do with it? And more. Shawn Crystal’s artwork has grown on me over the course of the series, now that this clear that the tone of this series isn’t as dark and MAX as I thought, the cartooniness works, and so do the benday dots. So yeah, this is a weird series, I still don’t know what I think, let’s hope the final chapter will clarify things for me.