There’s a lot going on in Commanders In Crisis Issue 3. Not gonna lie, I read this one twice to make sure I understood what was happening… but I am intrigued where it’s going.
I was provided with a digital copy of Commanders In Crisis Issue 3 to review. The opinions and red string theories are my own.
More than either of the previous two books, Commanders in Crisis Issue 3 has a lot of small details hidden in panel corners and edges. You have to take your time with the art here or you might miss things.
For example, right off the bat we see the dodgy guy from last issue in more detail. He’s hanging out in a… boiler room? Utility closet? Whatever it is, he’s clearly living there at least part-time. There’s a TV and armchair set up amid trash and, uh, some other things. You know what I’m talking about.
Mystery Creep still has his face hidden. He’s telling us a story about how his dad invented a soil aerator that made enough in royalties for the family to live off. (I guess those went away, because again, living in a utility closet.) Creep Dad was apparently a Super Swell Guy into tormenting his kid, because villains get tragic backstories just like heroes it seems.
Meanwhile, MC is drinking human blood. Presumably from our temporarily undead friend Simon, whose cause of death back in Issue 1 was partial exsanguination. Now that we see how that was done, maybe this isn’t a vampire situation.
Or is it? I’m fascinated by the sequence following the blood down MC’s throat. Is that electricity as the blood’s broken up in his stomach acid? Does blood fuel a power he has? Maybe it’s keeping him alive… like a vampire?
Another thing we pick up here is the fact that the American Individuality Act is picking up steam. Cool cool cool. Really excited to see parallels to current events even though these pages were written and drawn some time ago (if their printer deadlines are like mine anyway). If anyone puts an AIA forward in real life with any seriousness you guys better believe we as a platform will be taking a trip to Washington to march.
Past that, there’s a little confusion with Empathy Guy waking up. He’s shocked to be alive, and upset that it’s only for one day. The bigger twist here is that Nina used to date him in college (guessing based on his letter jacket), even though she didn’t recognize his body and he doesn’t recognize her.
I’m so confused. Is this a “it was a long time ago and we forgot” thing? Am I wrong and Nina really is from an alternate Earth? If so why didn’t she get powers when she came across the Cosmic Breach? WHY DOESN’T HE KNOW HER?
And WHY does Angry Shouting Politician know Nina? Is his niece our Nina (AKA Frontier)? It would be absolutely ridiculous to have two unrelated Ninas so I assume so. However, if it’s Frontier, I have no idea what’s going on here. Nina wants him to be pushing the AIA? She wants prisoners from the Hague moved somewhere? What’s going on?
I guess if I’m wrong about Frontier being from this Earth, there could be an Evil Nina present already. It wouldn’t make sense for an original Earth Nina to be double-crossing, since she’s the one who brought all the Commanders here. Maybe there’s something we don’t know yet? There certainly is a forbidding picture of Nina in the end art of Commanders In Crisis Issue 3, along with a teaser that she has a secret.
I tried to go back over the panels to see if I could find clues. I didn’t find anything about Nina, but maybe I did find something?
See, Mystery Creep has a charming bottle of lube placed waaay far back from his armchair. It’s got brown hairs all over it. I know what those could be, because MC being blondish doesn’t mean anything. But the bottle is just really far away, not in a “handy location” and not on its side like it was thrown there. More like it was set down on his way into the room.
Plus, we see a fresh condom right on top of Simon’s trash bin. There’s nothing over it- it’s the most prominent thing there, drawn distinctly when the rest of the trash is just suggested. In case you don’t get what the shape is, there’s even a wrapper next to it. This is important for some reason.
Now, that reason could be “men are gross”, especially with Prizefighter’s comment about straight men. But we have conflicting stories and evidence here.
Simon says he answered the door and was killed by someone who was from his same town and saw his poster. However, his death scene was in a kitchen. Maybe even a business kitchen? It can’t be his kitchen because there is no sign of a struggle at Simon’s house, and Scarlet found the scene of his death back in his hometown.
Maybe he was taken from his house and brought to the kitchen, maybe to be infused with the Empathy idea these people were trying to kill? That would explain his description of “a fullness in me I couldn’t understand”, and it would explain why he was taken from one house and killed in another, where he couldn’t be identified.
But if Simon was attacked at his house there would be signs of a struggle. You can’t be stabbed in the neck without blood spraying around, and that place had obviously not been cleaned up to hide evidence.
What if those clues are a hint instead of a sign of men being gross? What if Simon had a hookup with Mystery Creep, then went with him somewhere willingly where he was murdered? Not sure why he wouldn’t come out and say that since he’s dead anyway, but it’s the only explanation that fits the clues we have now.
I should mention that the other Geekiary staffers think I’m reading too much into this and it’s a coincidence. Everyone has their money on “men are gross”. Only time will tell who’s right, or if none of us are.
Time is something the team doesn’t have much of. Commanders In Crisis Issue 3 ends with the Commanders scrambling to make use of the paltry 24 hours of empathy Originator bought them – and standing at the business end of an old lady’s handgun. I’m interested to find out more about what’s going on (and maybe what’s up with the creepy phone monster) next month!
Quick reminder, go put Commanders In Crisis Issue 4 on your pull list (or set one up if you don’t have one yet). I said it last week and I’ll say it again – this is the point in a series where issues start being hard to just grab and go. You don’t want to miss a chunk in the middle of a story this detailed!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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