Created by: Ian Bertram & Darcy Van Poelgeest
Written by: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Art by: Ian Bertram
Colors by: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters by: Aditya Bidikar
Design by: Ben Didier
“It’s only a dream.”
In This Issue: It seems that the last stand of the residents of Elder’s Hope has been an unmitigated failure. The New Vatican army has captured or killed everyone from the hidden village. The Axe is dead. Little Bird is in the clutches of Bishop.
Thanks to a drug-induced dream, we now know that Little Bird and Gabriel are twins—their mother, Tantoo, impregnated by Bishop. Bishop’s minions have run a battery of tests and experiments on Little Bird, who carries the Resurrection Gene, in order to find a cure for Gabriel’s disease, a disease which affects an overwhelming number of the population at large.
They have succeeded.
Bishop and the Reverend Mother are keen to frame the discovery of the cure as a miracle in order to hide the manner in which it was discovered (via Bishop’s personal crusade for a cure specifically for his son.) The citizens of New Vatican have become disenchanted. Their waiting has seemingly been in vain, their prayers going unanswered. Bishop is up against a difficult task.
Little Bird manages to break free of her captors and find Gabriel, who takes her to see what remains of her mother—their mother. Bishop catches them there and Little Bird is captured again, though not before seeing the entirety of the population of Elder’s Hope crucified in Penance Square.
The night before Little Bird is slated to suffer the same fate as Tantoo and The Axe, Gabriel visits her. They share their stories with each other—Gabriel his history of feeling weak and feeble, a disappointment, and Little Bird imparting the knowledge of the hunger for a life worth living, and the allegory of the Black Lace Weaver spider being eaten by her young as their first act after being born, their hunger allowing them to pursue that worthwhile life.
Little Bird dies the next morning, but the story isn’t over.
My Two Cents: The plan failed. Elder’s Hope is lost. The Axe is dead, Little Bird is dead, the resistance is dead. But still, the tide is turning—the dream isn’t dead, it’s just taking a new shape. Van Poelgeest and Bertram could have given us the traditional “underdog comes out on top” scenario, but they didn’t and that seems far more accurately reflective of real life. The baton has passed, and now Gabriel is becoming increasingly aware of the hypocrisy surrounding him. Little Bird has given him the hunger. The citizens of New Vatican are also becoming restless and disenchanted—they are beginning to question their faith, their situation, their leaders. The downfall of Bishop’s theocracy will likely come from unexpectedly close quarters.