Previously: Hadrian’s Wall #2
Hadrian’s Wall #3 | Story: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel | Artist: Rod Reis | Letters: Troy Peteri | Design: Rich Bloom | Editor: Matt Idelson | Publisher: Image Comics
The murder mystery on Hadrian’s Wall gets deeper and more intriguing, as investigator Simon Moore continues his dogged pursuit of Edward Madigan’s killer… while going through withdrawal from his painkillers, which someone poured down the drain.
This issue focuses almost exclusively on Simon’s rapid deterioration, as a result of his pills having been taken from him. Without that crutch, the once well-composed investigator cannot help but stumble through the darkness of withdrawal, all the while wearing the very clear face of irritability and anger.
While there are some interesting developments made in his investigation, as well as new revelations about a few of the characters, Simon’s detox does take up the bulk of what happens here. What’s fantastic is how it is visualized, not just through Rod Reis’ artwork but also in the narrative created as a result of Simon dealing with his pain and frustration.
Reis’ artwork is, however, still excellent. Not only is Simon’s appearance changed because of his withdrawal symptoms, but his movement is also shown to be inconsistent. Reis captures this terrifically, as can be seen in the above panel where motion is communicated through multiple instances of the character within a static space.
It’s these moments where Reis’ artwork shifts around and manipulates the narrative visually that injects a frenetic quality into what continues to be the compelling story of a murder investigation on a spaceship. The story places Simon in this situation where he is forced to maintain composure, but the art seems to be fighting that rigid structure, in much the same way Simon is, himself, struggling against mania.
In the letters section, this month, we get an update on Kyle Higgins’ adventures across Europe, a visit from a bit of a critic to the series, and some explanation on what sort of influence Blade Runner had on Hadrian’s Wall. Personally, I think the aesthetics of movies like Blade Runner and Alien seem to be an influence, as they both established independent universes of imperfect future technology. Hadrian’s Wall, the ship, is said to be “old” and not “state of the art”, which places it in that more “aged” area where its flaws have become visible; that is a quality both Alien and Blade Runner used to great effect, in order to ground their respective worlds.
The series’ first arc comes to an end with next month’s issue, and I’m really hoping we get more of Simon just falling apart and having all sorts of fever dreams.
Hadrian's Wall #3
The story may not develop significantly here, but it does offer invaluable morsels for the reader to digest alongside Rod Reis’ hefty helping of artwork that captures withdrawal symptoms exceptionally well.