Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
End League #9
Dark Horse Comics
Remender & MacDonald
The finale of the End League leaves no stone unturned as many threads are resolved via unexpected means and other plots pieces leave the door open for a possible return to this universe down the road. The comic is packed, literally, cover to cover with story. Forty pages of story with no ads for $4 is a pretty decent deal. The third art team for this run brings a new style that gives a nice visual display of the story as well as the heavy action sequences. However, the comic excels when dealing with the complicated concept of time travel, other realms and the line between good and evil. It’s a terrific story and the finale is by far the best piece to the puzzle. This comic shouldn’t be missed.
This story has never shied away from the plot element that Thor’s hammer is the key to saving or destroying the world. From the beginning, several characters have sought out the hammer and in this issue we begin to see why they wanted the hammer and how the hammer could tilt the scales in various directions. The hammer changes hands a couple of times in this comic as good, evil and gray intentions are explored. However, the hammer becomes only a small device of the comic’s layered story.
Another aspect of this comic introduces the idea that other realms or realities that directly affect the outcome of Earth. The remaining heroes grapple with the hope of saving Earth from the villains, only to realize that the real enemy simply wants to kill some of the populace instead of the entire planet. This feeds into the moral dilemma where the heroes can save everyone by sacrificing some. They don’t agree on a solution and the line gets even more blurry between the remaining heroes and villains.
The final element of this comic book that is worth discussing in depth is the idea of time travel. This issue utilizes it heavily. It resolves scenes from previous issues as well as helps solve problems within this issue and it provides a means of escape for some of the supporting characters. The usage requires rereading and studying previous scenes very closely. Once the timeline is fully understood the time travel component of the book makes the story that much better. It could have been used as a copout but instead it’s used in a clever way to position characters in key moments in the history that we’ve come to understand as fact from previous issues. The comic book manages to give the remaining cast members multiple roles in this issue through this tactic.
The only flaw I found with this issue is that some of the characters that were built up over the length of the series were not used in that vain here in the finale. Granted, some of the characters show their true colors in this issue, but those character developments and plot twists are to be expected and welcome. However, some of the others are dispatched so quickly or simply fade into the background that they seem to have built up for no reason over the previous issues.
The artwork does a consistent job throughout. The comic assignment is a tall order because the previous two art teams were so different in their own style that it never had a chance to fully “fit in”. I was pleased to see that this style was more conducive to realistic facial details and stayed away from the jagged edged look. The artwork did have some gaps in terms of distinguishing certain characters when the pick up the hammer but they were usually resolved within a panel or two. I was happy with the action and layouts. It’s a very nice looking comic.
I’ve avoided character names the entire review for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t want anything spoiled and giving any names to match situations would do that. And secondly, this story isn’t as much about the individuals as it about the situation and about the moral line within us all. This story provides thoughts long after the book ends about what the right decision would have been for the remaining characters.
I enjoyed this comic immensely. Rereading this run will be more interesting now knowing the complicated conclusion. It’s not the Watchmen, but the comic is certainly something to pick up and read. It’s got a lot in it for people looking for a blurry line between good and evil and for those looking for a story that doesn’t just upset the status quo, but destroys it. I highly recommend this comic.
5 out of 5 geek goggles