Thursday, March 19, 2015

Terminal Hero #6 Review

I did not know when I started reviewing all the issues of Terminal Hero that is was going to be a six-issue mini-series. I didn't actually know that until in between issue #5 and this one. I have to wonder if all my complaints about the too-rapid pacing would've been different if I had realized this wasn't an ongoing. I'll have to go back and reread it now, knowing what I know. Maybe. Probably not really going to do that, because I'm not wild about the title (see below).
     Anyway, this finale left a lot to be desired. Petter Milligan does a dutiful job of wrapping up all the threads, he gives Mia and Minesh a fitting ending, and he generally just gets out of the way of the story he's set up and lets its momentum carry it over the finish line. All of which is good. What bugs me, though, is that Rory ends up returning to the life he stole from a man he killed. He gets to live out the rest of his days pretending to be somebody he's not, raising someone else's kids and being married to someone else's wife. It's arguably the most fucked up thing he does in the whole series, so to have it be his ultimate reward is sort of infuriating. I'm not convinced that Rory deserves any kind of happy ending, but he 100% shouldn't be allowed to get away with usurping another person's life and family.
     That's my biggest takeaway from this issue, because that's how the whole book resolves. To make matters worse, Rory himself, in the very final narrative captions, questions whether or not he'll even be satisfied with his normal, mundane reality after all the crazy shit he's been through, all the unthinkable pleasures he has experienced. So he's not even grateful for what he has, let alone guilty about how he got it. It makes me downright hate a protagonist about whom I've felt mostly ambivalent up to now; he was never my favorite, but he always showed potential, the desire to redeem himself if not the ability. Here in the conclusion, he fully, definitively becomes an asshole, so that's a drag, because I've been hoping all along that he'd go the other way.
     Piotr Kowalski and Kelly Fitzpatrick do exactly as solid a job with the artwork as they always have, but there's also not much new for them to draw here. It's mostly variations on stuff we've seen before, and which was more impressive the first few times around, but has by now become familiar and thus less interesting. Nothing looked bad, but nothing pulled me in, either.
     I don't think I liked Terminal Hero in the end. There were some strong bits here and there, Mia and Minesh were pretty stellar characters, and the visuals were consistently great, but the details of the plot and the directions in which Milligan chose to take it resulted in one letdown after another, so all told this is a middling comic at best. Worth reading if you dig Kowalski's style, but far from Milligan's best work, and none too memorable or impressive in the scheme of things.

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