There’s no denying that “The Legend of Luther Strode” has been a very different beast than its predecessor, “The Strange Talent of Luther Strode.” With the original’s sense of wonder and surprise as Luther Strode learned that his bodybuilding project had a sinister and dangerous undertone, Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore knocked that comic out of the park. But with the darker and much more violent sequel, judged on its own merits, this conclusion is satisfying and feels like everything is positioned well for the eventual third and final mini-series next fall.
“The Legend of Luther Strode” #6 serves primarily as mop-up, as Luther and Petra track down the rogue Jack and try and stop his trail of carnage. On the surface, the majority of this issue is about putting that genie back in the bottle (or perhaps just smashing genie and bottle into little bits). It’s a big fight, with a couple of nasty choices to be made along the way. And on that level alone, it works. It’s a big climactic fight, it’s intense, it’s quite readable.
More importantly, though, Jordan uses “The Legend of Luther Strode” #6 to finish the reuniting of Luther and Petra, after their separation in the conclusion of “The Strange Talent of Luther Strode” #6. The two work well together; Luther provides the raw muscle and power, but Petra serves as a balance with a lighter and cheerier outlook. Considering the awful events that they go through here, I’m not saying that she’s all skipping and picking roses; rather, though, she’s a good counterpoint to the grim and unstoppable force that Luther’s turned into. From pillaging the home and garden department for weapons, to being determined that they’ll go through all of this together, Petra provides what many felt was missing at the start of this mini-series and shows that it was a deliberate choice on Jordan’s part to help readers realize that they absolutely need to be together.
Moore’s art is as detailed and intricate as ever. The double-page spread of Jack’s carnage at the mall is jaw-dropping, both in the amount of care (the rings of splayed bodies around the fountains, the careful patterns of blood all over the place) and also the powerful, awful nature of what’s happened. Petra and Luther’s expressions as they soak in what Jack’s done are good too; Luther’s stony-faced statements, Petra’s gagging horror. Add in what feels like a fast and powerful action sequence that stretches through most of the book, one that makes everything zip along in a way that keeps you from having to get grossed out otherwise, and it’s a good reminder that Moore is the right artist for this book.
Read as the conclusion to “The Legend of Luther Strode,” this issue serves up a good conclusion and provides a satisfying wrap-up of everything we’ve seen. As the final chapter in the second of three volumes, though, I feel like it’s even better. Everything is well-positioned for next year’s “The Legacy of Luther Strode,” and it makes me look forward to how Jordan and Moore with bring it all to a close. Until then, it’s definitely worth taking a look at the progression through all six issues of “The Legend of Luther Strode.” I’d say it all comes together in a way that makes the serial format work; it’s nice to see that chapter-by-chapter pacing succeed so well. Good times.