Whilst the first issue of this series really dropped us in at the deep end, with this second instalment, Rick Remender takes a step back, and starts develop the various characters and also explain a bit more of what’s going on. Of course, since those characters are trapped in some kind of insane space-war between Germans and Native Americans, there’s still plenty of craziness to go around.
The issue begins with a flashback to just after Grant McKay has completed ‘The Pillar’, and here we see that he’s not your average scientist hero, he celebrates by cheating on his wife, smoking some pot and being all introspective. He believes that with ‘The Pillar’ and having the ability to travel between universes, he can help mankind. Of course, since The Pillar has been sabotaged and they are trapped in some alternate world, it might not be that helpful.
The story then moves to the present day, and the aforementioned Germans Vs Native American space war, where our main characters are trapped. Someone has smashed the homing beacon, so they can’t just go home, and the timer is also fucked, and that means that everyone is going to be stuck in the middle of this war for the next 4 hours, which is going to be dangerous. The danger is not far away, as a German soldier stumbles upon the group, and stabs Grant. Luckily, one of the group, Kadir, can speak German, and so they discover that if they want to save Grant, they need to find a Shaman from the Native side.
Throughout this issue, both in another flashback, Remender does a strong job of developing a few of the non-Grant characters. We find out more about Kadir, who was the man who provided funding for this project, and a he really is a massive prick. Ward also seems like an interesting character, he has military training, and it looks like his back-story is that he pulled a bit of a Wikileaks and revealed to the public that the US Army was killing civilians with drones. This got him a dishonourable discharge, and 5 years of nothing, until Grant McKay trusted him and brought him on as security for his team. Hell, even though all he does in this issue is tell jokes, the fact that he does that when nervous is an interesting tic for another character, Shawn. In the previous issue, all we really knew about was McKay and how he was in an alternate reality, now we know about the rest of his team, and also some of what motivates him.
Remender is still showing that inventive side, with the setting of this particular reality, but all of that counts for nothing if you don’t care about the characters, and now we do, as flawed as they all are. Matteo Scalera’s art was excellent once again, the scale of the battle going on above the character’s heads was excellent, and he demonstrates a great sense of design, as well as awesome facial expressions, Kadir’s dickhead leer just makes me hate him.
This issue was a big leap up from the already excellent #1, I could tell that the first issue really was just scratching the surface, and man, I can’t wait to see what else Remender and Scalera have up their sleeves.