(Spoiler Alert: Sandman Overture #2 was finally released last week. It’s PREETTYYY)
And just like that, our time with Nika and William comes to an end. How was it? Well, I’m not sure. At the very least it’s improved on the past two issues in terms of pacing. The stakes feel much higher here than they have since issue #5 when the temples that connected William and Nika’s worlds blew up. However, I think that my interest in these characters has waned a lot since then as rarely anything has occurred for me to care about their reunion, and even the fate of humanity herein. I think my major issues lies with how Trillium builds its main relationships on some notion of destiny or fate. It just feels too easy, and although the sci-fi angle does distinguish a bit from usual fare it doesn’t do much with that distinction.
On an individual-basis, I also don’t have much to remember either character by other than their bravery and determination to find one other across time and space in spite of accusations of lunacy by their companions on both their ends. Therefore I was left indifferent with their decision to sacrifice themselves and remain stranded in space at the end to provide the remaining humans an opportunity to survive doesn’t come as a surprise, and I was even more hard-pressed to believe for even a moment that they would not ultimately get their happy ending, albeit a vague one that has them enter a blackhole only to…hug for eternity? Additionally, the comic only ever wraps up the story of the couple and Williams’ brothers, Clay and we’re not given any indication as to why William and Nika’s worlds collided when they did. The last page does reveal the outcome for the last remnants of humanity in a page I had to look a few times in order to figure out just what was occurring.
Like Lemire’s visuals the story feels like it just became looser toward the end, reveling the broad strokes typical of this type of narrative. I most enjoyed one of the early splash pages that showed an embracing William and Nika, which is alluded to near the end. Story and character-wise, this comic falls short of what I’ve come to enjoy from my other readings of Lemire’s works. Rather than creating the fully realized characters he is well regarded for, Lemire provides merely sketches in place of his protagonists. Through dialogue we’re meant to believe that Nika and William have mended a part of each other, and while one page following their entrance into the blackhole reveals how they literally do this, it felt unfair.
Rather than having purchased this comic issue by issue, I think I would’ve found it much more enjoyable as a collected hardcover. Each issue didn’t feel like it had enough substance to sustain itself. I appreciate Lemire’s choice to continue experimenting with the medium, particularly structurally, but not at the expense of a good story. Although it’s great that Lemire is able to convey much with the art, the fact that the words never seem to provide something additional leaves me cold with the end of this comic Flipping through the issues, and looking at the artwork he’s produced, I wish he had cut all the dialogue and allowed us to just appreciate the visual narrative.. I’ll be reading Lemire’s run of Justice League United once it gets started, and hope that with the inclusion of Buddy Barker, Lemire can give us some characters to care about.
I also read Black Science #5, which contains a big twist that I believe fans of alternate-reality stories would’ve seen coming. Still a fun read, but I’ll need to start caring about Grant the next issue if I’m going to continue following the adventures of The Anarchist League of Scientists.