Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Higher Earth #3: Crisis of Infinite Assassins
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Francesco Biagini
Cover B: Phil Noto
August 1, 2012
Higher Earth has been an enjoyable, sci-fi action series with an intriguing premise and a lot of potential. In this issue, that potential finally begins to reveal itself as we learn more about Rex, Heidi and Higher Earth itself.
I had certain expectations heading into this issue: I wanted to see more character development and gain a clearer insight into what this story is about. Until this point, Heidi and Rex have largely remained cyphers to the readers and to each other, and there has been little time for the plot to slow down and explain exactly what is going on and why. Though there remain many mysteries to be explored later in this series, I am happy to say that my expectations were not only met, but far exceeded.
Heidi and Rex begin this issue on Minus Three Preak-Kardov Earth, a prehistoric Earth populated only by dinosaurs and a few humans working to extract the planet's resources by a contractor under the employment of Higher Earth. The same mysterious assailant who has been following the pair since Issue One attacks them, seriously wounding Rex. The attacker is revealed to be Kurt, a version of Rex from another Earth, sent to kill Heidi and Rex for Higher Earth.
Heidi manages to kill Kurt (oh does she ever!), and then forces a wounded Rex to tell her the truth about his mission. The issue ends with the reveal that there are in fact dozens of analogues of Rex, all under the command another parallel Rex, First Councillor Sloane, an agent of Higher Earth.
To say this issue was full of great reveals and exciting moments is an understatement. Sam Humpries script has really delivered on this series promise of high-concept science fiction, and is proving to be just as unpredictable and wild as last summer's one-shot of WTF-ness, Our Love is Real.
Francesco Biagini's art has been great since this title began, but this is my favorite issue he's penned so far. The way that Biagini uses the panels to move with the flow of the action is masterful, and is perfectly demonstrated throughout the action scenes in this issue. I loved the reveal of Kurt within the Raptor suit, and the single page devoted to Heidi delivering her killing blow was a breathtaking page that I read through at least three or four times before moving on just because that sequence of images was so good.
I've especially come to appreciate how Heidi is drawn: she is tough and attractive, battle-scarred and not overly sexualized by Biagini. In the panel where she threateningly holds her sword at Rex's throat will staring directly at him, she looks downright bad-ass. Those of you looking for more strong female characters in comics, take note of this series.
Higher Earth #3 is another issue in what has proven to be a consistently exciting and thought-provoking read. I look forward to seeing what versions of Earth Humphries and Biagini will take us to next. Highly recommended.