Kenneth Laramy is being carted off to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison after murdering his wife and inciting nationwide rioting and panic, the paparazzi world is in a tizzy when news breaks of Laramy’s political opponent Sam Duggins and anti-establishment singer Reese Greenwood shacking up together, and all the while we get continued glimpses of revolution in the near future. Does Max Bemis’ political thriller make much needed inroads in the story department? Is it good?
Evil Empire #3 (BOOM! Studios)
If we were judging solely on the last issue, “thriller” would be a bit generous, because despite an intruiging debut, issue #2 dragged a bit and took a bit too long to say what it had to say. This issue, however, does kick things into gear, with a story that you can really sink your teeth into (minor spoilers ahead): Laramy busts out of jail before he even actually arrives, causing a widespread wild goose chase for the politician-turned-dangerous fugitive (although isn’t that a little redundant?! Amirite fellas?! I’ll be here all week).
Gotta respect a guy who can think on his toes and offer a solid ass-to-mouth rape joke, even in the face of impending incarceration, even if he is an unstable iconoclast.
Meanwhile, Reese reluctantly works with the FBI to try to get some information out of Laramy’s surviving daughter, Kara. She does get a useful nugget of information, but only after ditching the wire she was wearing, keeping the feds she’s spent most of her adult life rebelling against in the dark. The dichotomy between Reese and the feds—not to mention her new politician lover—is an interesting one, and one that drives most of the inner conflict for our protaganist, as well as most of the plot. On the flip side of the plot, we have an increasingly batshit insane renegade who actually has a sizeable groundswell of support from the general population.
25 years in the future, so we know things don’t exactly end up so great.
And for the record, Laramy’s rhetoric gets even more insane. Like, sexualizing burning down a mall while broadcasting in front of an upside-down American flag flanked by a couple of henchmen in executioner masks insane. Dude really needed to be hugged more as a kid or something. At least his speech is entertaining. In fact, most of the dialogue in Empire is clever, which is a must in a comic that is so story-driven and action-light.
And thankfully, it’s visually presented by Ransom Getty’s spot-on artwork. The comic continues to be a joy to take in, as everything is very detailed and layouts continue to impress with their originality. Even without a hell of a lot to work with—mostly just characters talking and angry mobs—Evil Empire fires on all cylinders visually.
Plot-wise, everything is pretty status quo until you get to the last few pages, where the pace goes from 0 to 100 in about one second flat, and you’re left wondering what in the hell you just read. With how the first two issues and the first 7/8th of issue #3 went, you would think that what ends up being the final scene would have taken up the majority of next issue. Instead, we get an issue’s worth of plot development in two pages and then…it’s over. Possibly even the entire comic. It ends with a dubious “Continued?”, and that combined with the extremely rushed ending doesn’t exactly instill much confidence, although the comic is still slated to continue.
Is It Good?
Evil Empire #3 starts off interesting and sets some ideas into motion that seem like they could really go somewhere, but then smacks you in the face with an abrupt ending that almost invalidates most of the issue. A disappointing ending and a questionable future is worrisome to say the least.