Writers: Robert McKenzie & Dave Walker
Artist: Justin Greenwood
Colourist: Daniela Miwa
Letterer: Simon Bowland
So here we are in the final issue of Compass. Are things resolved? Is there a satisfying ending? Do we get the answers the we seek? Well, pretty much yeah. There’s a hearty mix of action and philosophy as the final confrontations go down and the truth about the cauldron is revealed. We also get Shahi and Ling’s relationship which remains one of the most interesting aspects of the book even in this final issue.
At the end of issue #4 we had a bit of a cliff hanger. After the excitement of a DINOSAUR the cauldron of eternal life had ended up in the wrong hands. This of course means Margul Khan who does not hesitate to use the cauldron to become young and immortal. Now faced with her enemy gaining immense power how on earth can Shahi stop him? Plus the locals aren’t too pleased to find their ancient relic being used by out of towners.
There has been a little question of what is real and not with regards to to the mythology. Shahi herself is something of a sceptic, albeit one who seeks truth. However, it’s pretty clear that the cauldron of eternal life does indeed work as advertised. Although there are a few twists and turns to come with regards to its power and how it operates.
We haven’t been sure what Ling has been up to and I am pleased to say her character retains that which side is she on? ambiguity throughout quite a bit of this final issue. Still her antagonistic relationship with Shahi remains a highlight. These two get each other and yet can never fully ally themselves. The history that’s weaved between them is very interesting and I am glad to see some of this final issue dedicated to that.
What we also get this issue are some excellent fight scenes between the Welsh natives and the Mongol army. Of course Shahi is also in the mix because why wouldn’t she be? There aren’t big army scenes but ones that focus on duels and individual battles. There’s plenty of gore and the colouring really helps with bold contrasting colours really setting off the brutal violence as dark blood splatters across the frame.
The art with the colouring really helps the scene. A moonlit night with a full moon and a giant fire. There’s so much atmosphere which really helps with the whole mystical cauldron ancient rite aspect. The characters in action have great depicted movement but just the characters generally are really well designed. Berot, Margul’s second in command is especially striking with the unmoving armour plate face that conceals something much more horrific beneath.
The art remains interesting and really helps give the story tension and atmosphere throughout.
In the end Shahi seeks knowledge and truth and once found knowledge is eternal and unerring as a compass. There’s the title right there. It’s a really rather powerful idea in an age where knowledge is perhaps not so much truth as opinions. However, it’s an idea that’s executed well, especially here at the climax.
Overall this is a fitting end to the tale. I think this book has gotten better as it has gone on and these last two issues have really upped the game. The focus on character’s desire and relationships is good and the art as always is a real draw (pun intended). With strong lettering too. Compass concludes on a high. Even if there are no more dinosaurs.