Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #3

"Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape" is halfway finished and, still, there is little information on what's going on, but there is movement towards an explanation as the inmates of Electric City work together to escape. Their actions read like a message to readers: don't ask why this is happening, just move forward, and hope that something good happens. It's an interesting approach and continues to work for Ivan Brandon and Marco Rudy.

Rudy continues to be very impressive in this series, using intricate and interesting page layouts, working in the gutters to provide hints about the scenes we're seeing and, in this issue, depicting certain scenes with panel shapes that suggest video screens to indicate the way that the inmates are being observed -- and, in one instance, Nemesis using a monitor to notice that one of them has suddenly vanished. Clearly, a lot of thought has been put into these layouts and they are striking in the vein of JH Williams III's work.

Where Rudy falls down sometimes is in the actual drawings within these lovely layouts. After a while, there are only so many times you can look at Cameron Chase or Nemesis with confused expressions on their faces. And, in some cases, the work itself looks a bit rushed, or not enough space is allotted for action because of the elaborate layouts. On the whole, it's very nice looking work, but the details suffer.

Brandon's writing, though, continues to press forward and surprise. Slowly, he's providing us with hints and clues about the nature of Electric City and what's going on. He introduces a new concept in this issue: the wheel, which, when spun, determines the outcome of another inmate or the inmates as a whole. It plays a pivotal role in this issue and is quite effective.

He's also built up some intriguing alliances and sub-groups within the inmates with Nemesis and Chase aligned, while Amanda Waller slowly builds a following, even winning Nemesis over. It also becomes clear what these characters have to offer in this story with their abilities used to good effect.

Brandon is heading into dangerous territory by withholding explanations and building up the mysterious "[NAME DELETED]" character, because the longer we go without answers, the bigger and better they need to be. As it is, things are proceeding along nicely and that both the inmates and readers are lost creates a link between the two.

Of all of the books to spin out of "Final Crisis," "Escape" is the most experimental and, in many ways, truest to Morrison's sense of storytelling, clearly drawing on elements of his non-superhero work like "The Filth" and "Invisibles" here. Whether or not Ivan Brandon and Marco Rudy can stick the landing is what we'll have to see, but, halfway through, this book is very impressive and one that demands multiple reads to fully appreciate.

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