We know Orson Gage is an ex-cop who wants to avenge the murder of his wife, but aside from the fact he likes to curse and act like a badass, what else do we really know about the guy? We've yet to learn too much about the core characters in this limited-series, but writer Justin Jordan completely changes that with this third chapter. Oh, and did I forget to mention he also fills the issue with an absurd amount of vicious action? Because yeah, there's a whole lot of that, too.
The telling of Gage's backstory isn't done via flashback or an abrupt dose of exposition. Instead, Jordan gives the story an organic fit into the scene. Not only does it shed a little more light on who the lead is, but it also gives us a bit of potential foreshadowing as it connects us to his current path. It's straight to the point and a very effective way of breathing a little more life into the character. Not only that, but Jordan also gives artist Matteo Scalera the chance to deliver the impact of one reveal and it's a fantastically powerful panel. Instead of spelling it out for us, the panel lets the message sink in and it does so very well.
Jordan also unleashes an amazing amount of frenetic action in this issue. Many of the gritty and blunt fights are tossed into a double-page spread. Giving these brawls more space to unfold makes each punch, kick, and throw strike with much more impact. Then there's the fact Scalera has an unparalleled talent when it comes to filling the panels with a staggering amount of motion and force. These melees feel every bit as fast-paced and chaotic as they should be -- one is a bar fight, after all. Scalera doesn't only thrive with the violent encounters, though. Even when people are simply sitting around and talking, his unique style instills so much character into both the individuals and their environments. His humans come off as far more jagged and rough, so naturally, that's a perfect fit for this book's tone. And then, whether it's a room flooding with red lighting or a gorgeous sky hovering above a generic shopping mall, colorist Moreno Dinisio is able to compliment this grim and gritty style with a clean and polished set of beautiful colors. All in all, it's a phenomenal looking book.
It's great that Gage's "origin story" has been revealed, but it still feels like the overall picture is only inching forward and we're halfway through the series. On the plus side, the cliffhanger implies that the next issue could finally answer quite a few questions about everything that's going on.
Having action scenes spill into a double-page spread comes as a bit of a double-edged sword. One one hand, it's visually awesome, but on the other, it makes this feel like a pretty quick read. Regardless, this is absolutely turning out to be a story that might be more effective as a collection instead of waiting an entire month for each development.
Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera go all out in this third chapter. Jordan breathes more life into the protagonist, Gage, and scripts some crazy frenetic action scenes. Scalera then fills these pages with a substantial amount of intensity. If you're going to have a book about an R-rated crime gone wrong, these are most definitely the two dudes you'd want on the book.
I feel like a broken record saying this, but I simply have to point it out: yes, this is a story that isn't all that original (at least not yet, that is). It's your heist gone wrong meshed with a man who has lost his wife and now has nothing to lose as he seeks to punish the people responsible. However, the series thrives because of the creative team. Jordan refuses to slow down the pace and hits us with some massively entertaining set pieces and a consistent flow of no-nonsense dialogue. And then there's Scalera, an artist who has an uncanny ability to flood the panels with vivid energy. Together, they're creating one hell of a book. If you've fallen behind and this sounds appealing to you, you should definitely look for it when it's released as a trade.