Comic Picks By The Glick

Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn vol. 12

January 20, 2020

The first couple of chapters provide the kind of silliness you’ve come to expect from this series.  Which means we get to see Nene and Clarion visit the doctor, play (what is almost certainly) “Monster Hunter” with some kids, and take part in an underground robot fight club where the owner has his own customized military mech on hand to stomp out anyone who gets out of line!  This is all well and good, but the best part of these chapters is how Phobos’ character gets some much-needed rounding out. She presented with near-toxic levels of smugness in the previous volume as she forced her way into the blissfully unaware Nene’s life.  While Clarion’s evil twin thought she had everything figured out, that turns out to not be the case here as she actually struggles with the concept of having fun while playing with others and openly grits her teeth upon seeing what the Pandora device can do.  After seeing these things, I can even entertain the idea that she might not be the villain of this arc.

 

Then again, that’s also because someone makes a good case for being that villain -- even if they’re just an A-list henchman -- at the end of the volume.  The extra-long third chapter in this volume starts off unassumingly enough as we catch up with Soviet spy Cruzkowa and the Chicken Brothers (of all people…) in jail.  They don’t stay there for long, but before we can experience their titanic team-up, we find out that some of the spy’s feelings about cyborgs don’t sit well with the brothers.  This triggers some surprisingly effective flashbacks that wind up rendering the Chicken Brothers (of all people…) as actual humans rather than living jokes and at odds with Cruzkowa.  Before things can get deadly, steadfast C.P.D. officer Robert Altman shows up to round up the criminals, and then…

 

Look, I hate it when a volume ends with the death of a character only for it to be revealed in the next volume that they’re alive and well.  It’s awful when it happens in a Marvel or DC book, and arguably worse when you see it done in an Image title.  If it winds up being done here… then I honestly won’t mind.  Really, that’s just how it is this time. If the creators are serious, however, then the end of this volume is either a game-changing raising of the stakes, or a tone-wrecking mistake that’ll sink this title.  Whatever it is, the answers contained in vol. 13 can’t come fast enough.

 

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