Incursion #3 Review: When I’m Far From Home
“Incursion” #3 sees Gilad and Syntilla match wits and Virago take a little field trip to Earth. All in good fun, of course.
Story: Andy Diggle & Alex Paknadel
Script: Alex Paknadel
Art: Doug Braithwaite
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Paknadel always has one of those moments in each issue he touches. You know the ones – the everything-small-is-big, everything-big-is-small introspective interludes that so many writers are fond of (self included), and that are so easy to get wrong. This one has to do with Syntilla, and the scene that plays out as Gilad tries to free Syntilla from Virago’s servitude is interesting and more nuanced than it would be in the hands of less skilled writers. There’s a lot to be mined in “Incursion” about parenthood and duty, and there’s also no shortage of giant purple warriors busting out of castle walls or planet-wide punch-ups to keep us interested. Get yourself a comic book that can deliver both, and “Incursion” is one of those books.
For a book about planet death, “Incursion” is quite beautiful, though the more that’s happening on the page (read: however many of Virago’s minions are active at once), the more of a challenge it is to keep everything straight. Braithwaite’s work shines best in the scenes with Syntilla and Gilad and Gilad’s battle with Kotila. Paknadel’s humor stands out here, and it can be hard to balance that kind of quippiness with realistic characters and bodies (despite it taking place in a hell-scape), but Braithwaite’s faces are expressive and his action is believable. The moment meshes well, and it’s a lot of fun. Virago’s entrance later in the issue is delightfully insectoid and vicious, and seeing her in action at last is satisfying, and meshes well with the details Paknadel shares about her origins in this issue.
With more scenes back on Earth, there’s more than enough in this issue to keep Rodriguez busy with balancing a more realistic and nuanced palette with the high-contrast delight of the Deadside. All that red really is the most luxurious look at a nightmare dimension, and Rodriguez’s style meshes well with Braithwaite’s pencils in some beautiful color fades down the page. We’re back to a bit of that shading snag from issue #1, however, with some deep shadows that threaten to overwhelm the page, particularly in some of the overlapping layouts. It’s less pronounced than before, and there’s some nice play with light sources in Syntilla’s scenes in particular that make up for some of the imbalance.
Dillon’s lettering features a lot more sound effects in this issue, and he keeps them simple but effective. They blend pretty well with the art, which is a tall order when it comes to Braithwaite’s level of fine detail and Rodriguez’s nuanced palette. Dillon keeps things interesting with craggy balloons and a steady font, as well as the unique balloon styling he applies to each character for clarity and mood.
“Incursion” #3 keeps the story stakes extra high as Gilad struggles to find a way to break Virago’s hold over Tama, and with an uncertain future ahead for Earth, we’re headed into the last issue of this mini as unsettled and eager as we should be. “Incursion” #3 drops 4/17, so pick it up from your LCS and wherever fine pulp lit is sold.
“Incursion” #3 proves that Gilad’s story isn’t all about smacking things with swords, even as he does, in fact, smack some stuff with swords.