This volume is fairly weak compared to the last two. I feel the series kind of lost its footing here with two of the four stories being fairly below average compared to what we’ve come to expect. We actually do get a full issue dedicated to the ICM’s story arc so that finally picks up and it’s a real doozy. It’s a total surprise as to what the ICM is and what his intentions are. However, after this issue, we still don’t get much more after that.
The first issue is exactly what I talked about just now, but it’s set in a Wild West setting which is kind of odd. There’s still no explanation as to the settings or anything. We’re also introduced to more of ICM’s possible world, but it’s hard to tell if that’s what it is or just a reality he made up. The second issue is probably the worst by far. It’s set in along the Mexican border and tells a small tale of a white man in love with a Mexican woman whom he wants to take away from her land and save. It’s half told in Spanish and unless you use Google Translate (which the author actually suggests) you have to use the cheat sheet on the back. I found this annoying and lazy, and making the characters speak Spanish didn’t play into or add anything to the story as she speaks English anyways! It’s all dialog with two young people in love and the evil Captain is trying to marry the girl. It’s a typical Spaghetti Western setting and I found it rather boring and uninteresting.
The third issue has the ICM put a man into a series of weird sci-fi-style reality shows which also don’t really go anywhere. They’re interesting and the panels are shaped like TV sets, but this feels like a one-off story and you don’t get to know the man or have any heartfelt feelings like you did in previous issues. There’s no sense of reality you can relate to like we’re used to. The only interesting part was the connection to previous characters in the series and a couple of gory scenes.
The last issue is a space story. It’s rather interesting and surreal and has a great setting and atmosphere. The man in the story is sent out to find a new Earth and has an AI that can read his thoughts. As you explore certain areas with him he finally finds a signal of a previous pod that was sent out and lost. Of course, this leads to ICM being involved and we get another small tidbit of ICM’s story. This is probably the best of the four issues, but overall the volume is still solid, but not on the level of previous ones.