Of the Final Crisis Aftermath titles announced a few months back, Escape seemed like the worst fit. Why had the Global Peace Agency so rapidly gone what seems to be bat-shit crazy? Wait, Nemesis? And who the hell is this writer? Nothing was clicking for me as I read the description, but Final Crisis left me with good will, and I loved the cover art, so I decided to check out the first issue and see if it came together for me as I read.
Unfortunately, it never did.
Now, to clarify, this is not to say that I think that Brandon is unskilled or that the series will not come together. The issue gave me a great deal of hope that, as a collection, it could be quite an interesting read, thanks to a dozen or more small touches that ratchet up the suspense and mystery. Unfortunately, as a single issue, it follows the worst of the LOST stereotypes – all questions, no answers, no sense, no grounding. There are familiar faces, but they are hardly recognizable as the characters we knew, and since we have little to no idea what’s going on here, there is little reason to get invested.
Rudy’s art complements the twisty nature of the issue. Though his figures are often rather stiff, he manages to capture the trippy confusion quite well, especially in a brief showdown between Count Vertigo and Cameron Chase. The panel structure and transitions are also extremely well-handled, helping the issue along in terms of pacing while making sure your eye is always engaged. When the panel structure helps reinforce the claustrophobic nature of the writing, they’re doing something right.
As a collection, when there is not a month or more between each issue, this may be a book to keep your eye on. Even the narration occasionally seems to be a part of the mystery as some words and names have been redacted before we read them… but despite the interesting touches Brandon throws in, as an introductory issue, Escape offers little reason to follow it month after month.