Mean Green Machine

Publisher: Valiant
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Inker: Raffaele Forte
Colourist: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

I am going to get my my main complaint with this issue out of the way first. Not enough Shanhara. I was kind of hoping we’d see more of her running about whatever virtual world we saw her in last issue but alas we do not. In fact she’s mostly absent from this issue. We get a hint of her toward the end and we get some idea of what is going on with her, but still I would have loved to see more. The last issue had a great setup of Aric and Shanhara each wondering what the other would do in a given situation and that would have been interesting to see developed further.

What we do get is indications that the impact Shanhara has had on the humans around her and the dawning realisation from Des that all is not well with the AI powered super suit. Shanhara has changed, it might not really be her. It was nice to see young Des showing concern for his friend. It’s a well worn trope that the children spot these things before the adults and the adults don’t listen but it’s a trope executed well here.

Aric has a vague feeling something isn’t right but he’s too willing to push Shanhara back into action. Partly because Troy reassures him but also because Aric needs to be back in action with Shanhara. That’s how he defines himself and without that he struggles. So much so he’s willing to overlook any misgivings. Aric luckily still remains sympathetic even though at times you want to yell at him to listen to his young friend Des.

The art remains solid. I especially like the suit reactions. We know something is off with the suit and the way it reacts to threats both real and imagined really underlines that. It’s interesting but even the art depiction helps let us know something is off about the suit. The art for the weird, green, nanite, alien stuff also works really well. I do like art with interesting textures.

I also really liked the art with Des playing the game. The change from him sat in his room to the game world was nicely done and the designs were interesting. Speaking of different worlds we also see a bit of space in this issue and the art does justice to the huge vast feeling of it all. The feeling of confusion as it’s clear there’s something wrong with the suit is also really nicely done. It’s very interesting and the panels do give the feeling of confusion which is exactly what Aric is going through.

Overall whilst I would like more Shanhara there are some interesting plot developments going on. There’s a really big moment at the end. I am still worried for Shanhara and I hope Aric realises he needs to do more to make his partner better. Maybe he shouldn’t listen to Troy so much and listen more to Des. I really hope to see Aric and Shanhara back in action together soon. This arc is proving very interesting.

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