Written by: Marjorie Liu
Illustrated by: Sana Takeda
Lettering & Design by: Rus Wooton
Edited by: Jennifer M. Smith
Editorial Assistant: Ceri Riley
The ties that bind have hidden knots.
In This Issue: We left Kippa creating a diversion in order to draw a pair of The Doctor’s guards away from Corvin, which she does successfully but risks capture herself. Just as this looks inevitable, Ren flies in from out of nowhere, a whirlwind of teeth, claws, and feline fury, and helps Kippa defeat her would-be captors, leading to a tearful reunion between the fox child and the traitorous nekomancer.
Meanwhile, Maika is attempting to come to terms with her father, his politics, his ethics, and his methods—needless to say, it isn’t going well. Maika takes issue with his stance on all of them, finding them to exist on every level of the spectrum from unpleasant to downright abhorrent and, in one instance, quite literally stomach-turning. During their exchange, Maika experiences a memory from her early days—an argument between her parents about her father’s (harmless, he claimed) experiments into her potential with her ‘hidden traveler’. This remembering turns Maika and her father’s argument to the state of the monstrum now, and the hunger he creates in his host, that for the flesh of other humanoid beings.
This argument drives Maika to leave the presence of The Doctor, but a quick visit from a tiny, floofy white dog sees her determined to leave altogether, but with more than she had when she arrived. Returning to The Doctor’s lab, Maika is reunited with Vihn, though their reunion is short as Maika is in a hurry to retrieve a piece of her father’s expreiments—the Inquisitrix Gull. The Doctor arrives shortly after Maika frees Gull from the tank in which she is imprisoned. There is an exchange of words, blows, and ultimately, favors, which leaves Zinn both visible and weakened through The Doctor’s power.
My Two Cents: Lin and Takeda have delivered another issue true to form with art and story sharing the spotlight. Contrary to form, however, apart from Kippa and Ren’s brief reunion in the first couple of pages, the action for the remainder of the issue stays with Maika and The Doctor. There is a depth of character exploration and necessary exposition in this installment, which would have been poorly served with constant location and story line shifts, so while this large chunk of action dedicated to a single facet of the story is unusual, in this instance it was the best choice on behalf of the creative team. The readers need as much information as they can get ahead of what is shaping up to be a conflict of epic proportions. We are faced with the inevitability of all-out war in addition to Maika’s personal struggles which are increasing at an alarming pace, and Liu ad Takeda are adept at setting us up for what is to come. The tension is mounting on all sides—when will it peak?