Why was Mary Raven’s father, a famous space hero living in Ignition City, murdered? That’s what it all comes down in the conclusion of Warren Ellis’ mini-series that has mid-twentieth century sci-fi heroes living on an island near the equator, grounded once and for all as humanity shuns space travel because it’s not worth the hassle. The secret of Rock Raven’s murder comes out and it’s a biggie, one that shakes up things in Ignition City.
This final issue manages to tie together a lot of Ellis’ interests, but mostly it’s about how the space programs of the world all began and how they’re jokes now, lacking the will and drive to keep pressing forward, to exploring beyond Earth. It’s about the conflict between small, petty individuals that lack vision and the ability to see beyond their own bank accounts, and the dreamers who see only the big picture, the kind that’s written about in history books, the folks who shape the future rather than simply letting it happen. It’s pretty clear which side Ellis is on.
That sense of righteousness and optimism is the best part of “Ignition City” #5 as it tries to pull together a lot of disparate threads and tie them together with one simple point. The execution is awkward and clumsy in spots, far too Holmesian in sitting everyone down and explaining everything, but the revelation is big and shocking. It’s also one that brings together the former comrades that we’ve seen over the course of the story as they have a common cause to fight against again.
Gianluca Pagliarani and Chris Dreier deliver some absolutely gorgeous line work in this issue. The feeling of dirt and rotting in Ignition City has been present throughout the city, like a city built atop the future’s junkyard with the discarded heroes of the future as its inhabitants. The sight of it is almost heartbreaking and the people who live there only add to that. The final revelation scene is some of the pair’s best work on the series, judiciously using striking visuals and delivering fantastic facial expressions. I can’t wait to see their next project.
“Ignition City” #5 concludes with a caption that says “The end,” but it would have been fitting to see the words “A beginning” since this issue ends with the setting up of a different status quo for the former space heroes and Mary Raven, one that makes sense and introduces some good story possibilities. While Ellis has said that he doesn’t plan to follow up on “Ignition City” in the near future, hopefully he will revisit the concept since it has potential for future mini-series.