A strong conclusion to the opening arc.
S P O I L E R S
This issue had one main goal: developing the antagonist. For the first two issues and most of this one, Brain Boy (Matt Price) has been trying to deal with a foreign dictator/uber-powerful psychic named Emil Ricorta. Here, though, we learn that Ricorta is not entirely what he seems. He’s not really an evil guy with incredible mental abilities, but instead is merely a host body for some sort of alien lifeform. This other, unknown being is the real source of Ricorta’s power, and has apparently been controlling the man for eighteen years. Now, in order to get Brain Boy off its back, the entity switches to a new host and forces Ricorta to commit suicide. This doesn’t prevent Matt from discovering the truth, but it puts the alien force in a position to cut a deal. If Brain Boy agrees to leave it alone, it will agree not to go after his new crush, Luisa, or her father, a former employee of Ricorta’s who knows too much. So our hero makes a deal with the devil, and the world’s two most impressive wielders of psychic superpowers go their separate ways.
Honestly, I think this is exactly what this title needed. Not that it was a bad comicbook in its first two issues, but it needed a little boost, something to widen and deepen it at once. A major twist about the true nature of the main villain was a perfect way to do that, especially since the eighteen-year timeline also makes it likely that this alien—a bright green goo called “Cenote Verde” by some—is somehow related to the death of Brain Boy’s parents. Since finding out what really happened to them was established early on as one of the central mysteries of this series, it was nice to see this new development tied to it, as even Brain Boy himself noted the connection. And the conspiracy around hiding the truth about his parents also had some layers added it to it, so all-in-all this was an issue that made a lot of progress as far as opening up Brain Boy’s world and making his future all the more interesting.
This issue also had some of R.B. Silva’s best work on the title so far. He was a good pick from the start, his hard, angular lines just right for the comic’s mix of levity and severity. Here, though, he has a few particularly choice moments. Early on, there’s a full-page splash of Matt diving gracefully into a body of water while a few dozen well-dressed party goers tumble much more clumsily after him. The image is just a split second before Matt hits the water, meaning a few of his pursuers are already making a big splash, while the rest are seen suspended in the air in a number of awkward positions. It’s hilarious but also a little scary and a little gorgeous.
Additionally, there were several panels of Brain Boy in full-on action hero mode that I thought worked extremely well. Launching himself into the air with a purposeful scowl, his sharp grey suit flapping around him, he really does look impressive and intimidating. And the panel where he lands forcefully in the middle of a party full of other psychics is a great beat of explosive action. Also, after he pushes himself to his limit in order to take out all those other psychics in one mental blow, Silva gives him a tasteful yet painful-looking nosebleed. Not an easy line to walk when it comes to gore, but Silva makes it look effortless.
I quite enjoyed this series’ debut, but the second issue saw my interest in it fade a bit. Now, though, I’m right back where I started. Fred Van Lente has clearly got some big plans for this character, and the message of this third issue was, “We’re just getting started.” At least, I hope that’s what it was saying, because that’s what I got out of it, and it made me rather excited for whatever is to come.