Previously: Hadrian’s Wall #4
It has been three long months since the first arc of Hadrian’s Wall came to its conclusion in December. I can’t be certain, but I think the withdrawal may have had me looking all-too-close to the monstrously disheveled Simon Moore we have seen deteriorate ever since his painkillers were taken from him. I got that fix here, though, and boy did it hit the spot.
Following the previous issue, I had wondered if we would get to see any more of Simon, Annabelle, and Edward’s torrid past; if we would, then when? Well, how about immediately? Does that work for you? It sure worked for me. Yeah, not only do we jump right back into that hornet’s nest for some more juicy details, but we continue to see just why Annabelle and Simon fell apart: they don’t trust each other, at all. Simon also seems like an alcoholic prick, but aren’t we all (no, we aren’t).
Meanwhile, in the present, we get more of the terrifically designed character who was introduced in the final panel of the previous issue. She adorns the issue’s cover (above), her name is Commander Willow, and I hope she makes a cosplay appearance at future conventions. Here is where I get to mention, again, I cosplayed the character Doppler from Hadrian’s Wall‘s creative team’s previous excellent series C.O.W.L.. I love to mention it because it was my first–and currently only–foray into cosplay, and also because Doppler was a strikingly designed character, just as Commander Willow is. If I were more comfortable with my body, perhaps I would attempt Commander Willow myself–then again, Doppler did require a full-body spandex skin suit, so how much more comfortable could I really get?
The ship’s astrophysicist Selina Laurent also has a line of dialogue “But don’t take MY word for it”, which made me instantly have the Reading Rainbow theme song in my head. Anyway, I digress.
Commander Willow, as well as the other Thetan Rebels, are not only sharply designed, but their introduction also adds yet another compelling layer to the plot: just what the hell do they really want? What is actually going on here?
Transitioning from plot to art, Rod Reis is still a god. Every issue of Hadrian’s Wall has provided Reis with ample opportunity to be amazing, and he’s outperformed even that expectation. As we’ve seen in previous issues, Reis creates a rigid, visual delineation between the past and the present: on-board the ship, in the present, everything is cold and blue; in the past, things are typically warmer and more vivid. The exception may be scenes specifically between Simon and Annabelle, which–if I recall correctly–have almost all been cold.
In this issue, though, on top of working between those two color schemes, there are moments which call for a more washed-out palette and then also a loss of color altogether. And it’s Reis’ ability to walk the line with these choices between having them all be distinct and recognizable but also blend together and work as a singular piece which really make it all work as well as it does. That’s on top of the great design for Commander Willow. It is a joy to look at any issue Rod Reis has illustrated.
As for the letters section, The Comm, the previous issue only had one question; this time, though, given the three-month hiatus, there are lots of questions. What’s more, two of these questions allow Kyle Higgins to talk in-depth about the writing process he and Alec Siegel employ when working together. Not a ton, but very interesting insight that I would love to have more of from all comic writers, frankly.
Due to the plot developments present in this issue, next month’s Hadrian’s Wall #6 promises to be exceptional, and I’ll be right here to ramble on about how much I will have presumably enjoyed it.
Hadrian's Wall #5
"Untitled Second Arc: Part 1 of 4"
Hadrian’s Wall #5 | Story: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel | Artist: Rod Reis | Letters: Troy Peteri | Design: Rich Bloom | Editor: Matt Idelson | Publisher: Image Comics