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SOVEREIGNS #4

by Thegreatmagnet on August 09, 2017

Sovereigns Written by Ray Fawkes
Sovereigns Art by Johnny Desjardins
Sovereigns Colors by Mohan
Doc Spektor Written by Aubrey Sitterson
Doc Spektor Art by Dylan Burnett
Doc Spektor Colors by Triona T. Farrell
Published by Dynamite
 
Writing a good mystery story, and a good time travel story for that matter, is hard work. Pacing is crucial, and you must introduce the threads over time, giving the reader just enough to keep them engaged. If you reveal too much, you risk the audience solving the mystery too soon, which can kill excitement and impact for the conclusion. If you reveal too little, you risk confusing the audience and driving them to tune out. A writer must walk a tightrope, giving them all the clues necessary to solve the riddle, without fully connecting the dots. I may have complained earlier in the series about some confusing aspects of this series, but I think Fawkes has done a good job prolonging the mystery while progressing steadily towards full clarity. While I’m not entirely sure how all the pieces fit together yet, I think we’re about where we should be with one issue left to go.
 
This issue does deliver some significant revelations about some of the lingering mysteries of this story. Solar is revealed to be a fusion of three beings, which explains why she uses the “we” pronoun and converses with herself. It’s also revealed that one of the Solar beings will become the shadowy antagonist that is seeking to destroy all of time. The exact mechanics of Solar being three fused beings is left vague, and I wonder if they’ll include additional revelations in the final issue, perhaps involving time travel. I’m struck by the vague resemblance between the male Solar and Magnus, and I’m wondering if he will become Magnus somehow and then travel back in time as Magnus (as they described in issue 2). It’s certainly been hinted that there is something untrustworthy about Magnus, so we’re bound to discover his secret in the final issue, which may or may not involve Solar’s forthcoming trip to the past.
 
One of the most surprising and rewarding aspects of the series is the changing nature of the titular sovereigns. They were initially portrayed as heroic champions turned benign rulers, who brought peace and stability to a troubled world. In addition, they conveyed a sense of camaraderie if not friendship, based on a decades-long alliance. As the series has unfolded, we’ve seen secret divisions between the characters that were not initially evident: ancient secrets and mistrust. In addition, we’ve learned that rather than being the saviors of the world, the Sovereigns may actually be its destroyers. Most conspicuous is Doctor Spektor, who really seems to have understood his counterparts’ secrets, but he allowed the situation to progress for decades in silence. Perhaps his experience was akin to the description from the beginning of this issue, “Sometimes your eyes can be wide open to the threat and you still can’t get out of its way.” Maybe Spektor understands that history cannot be changed, and he cannot prevent the catastrophe that will destroy nearly all human life. Solar, through some mechanism actually becomes the mysterious monster that threatens all of time. Magnus continues to be incredibly heroic in this issue, and his actions in this issue do save humans from extinction, but there is clearly a shoe left to drop regarding his journey from the future and the redactions from his memory. All indications are that he set all of these events in motion decades ago. Overall, I’ve been surprised and very compelled by the portrayal of the Sovereigns in this series: they started as heroes, but it’s quite possible that they are actually the villains, and largely driven by good intentions.
 
The art continues to be excellent. I’ve been a big fan of Solar throughout this series, and here we get three of them! There are plenty of other dazzling, highly detailed shots of the moon, large cityscapes, lava pits, meteor showers, and more. I also think Magnus looks pretty badass in his flight suit. The colors ROHAN continue to be solid, and they really shine on Solar’s pages, the assorted lava pits, and in a spectacular explosion splash page. I’m not normally a fan of splash pages, but the ones in this issue were very well done and helped to sell the drama of the big moments. The art has been top notch since the beginning of the series, and I’d recommend it based on the stength of the art alone.
 
The Doctor Spektor backup story was OK. Again, I don’t want to speculate too much before getting a full issue. This installment introduces Spektor’s love interest, who seems to be the prime motivating force for him to get his life together and actually make a living from magic. They’re clearly setting up Spektor as a flake and a screwup, and Sophie is on his case to grow up. If Spektor reminds me of Woody (from Valiant’s Quantum & Woody), I wonder if Sophie will be his Quantum, and if they will end up working together at some point in the series. I’m on the fence regarding the art. It’s more cartoony than the other Gold Key titles, and seems generally more simplistic in the Archie-type realm, but it does have some action moments that get more stylized and expressive. I will give the ongoing series a shot.
 
I’m very invested in this series, much moreso than I expected to be, and I’m very satisfied with how it’s been set up and executed. This feels like pretty much where we should be with one more issue left, and I’m hopeful that they will be able to stick the landing in the final issue. I just wish that the series weren’t ending. I’m not sure that the three ongoing series will be as strong, which is not to say that they are bad. The Magnus ongoing especially is extremely interesting and promising. However, the three ongoing series will probably be entirely self-contained, and most likely smaller in scope in regards to characters and storylines. But perhaps it’s better to design a tight, fully-realized story than an ongoing story without a clear and planned ending.
 

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside