The End League #5 (Dark Horse – Remender / Canete / Parsons)
Writer Rick Remender continues his acclaimed new series joined by fan-favorite artist Eric Canete (Iron Man, WildC.A.T.S.) for part one of the all-new storyline “Weathered Statues.” After the shocking events last issue in which half the cast was lost, Black and Arachnakid risk everything to take their revenge on the Smiling Man in his twisted city of Lore. Across the world in New Berlin, the fascist Wolfsangel puts a bounty on the remaining heroes in order to obtain the one item he requires to snatch lordship of Earth from Dead Lexington: An altruistic heart.
Rick Remender has cranked this series up. The last few issues have been so depressing! You just start to get to know a character and look, he or she dies. The heroes has a plan to give them hope and the world has a chance and then… nope, it doesn’t work out, chance destroyed, hope lost and it’s no longer “wizard needs food” it’s “wizard starved to death”. Issue 5 brings some new colors to what has been a characteristically black and charcoal story
As this issue unfolds, and perhaps the series as well, the readers are catching hope not from the traditional good guys. As stated before, in this series if you are a good guy you are either dead, dying or running for your life. But the hope is coming from the villains who may not be entirely on the same wavelength of the chaotic evil Dead Lexington. Are they all bad guys, sure… but in the realm of bad guys, there is a wide range of motivations and moral codes. Not unlike Marvel’s mutants books or the third volume of Heroes, the theme here might be shades of gray will win the day rather than being good or bad.
Setting plot development aside, this issue slows down the story arc a bit and the readers gets a longer look at fewer character interactions. This is heads above the previous pattern of having a dozen or so one and half page confrontations. This new focusing in on a few characters really helped the issue run a lot smoother. This slower pace also helped spotlight the art. Eric Canete’s art is less crowded here and that does nothing but enhance my view of his abilities and potential. I think he is a great artist that has gotten the short of the stick in The End League because in earlier issues the story was sprinting along and every panel of was packed from corner to corner. If issue five is an example of where this book is headed, then this will be a huge hit in 2009. Given of course there isn’t four months in between issues.