Jason Aaron and Ron Garney’s closing issue keeps vengeance front and center with plenty of violence to go around. Is it good?
Men of Wrath #5 (Icon)
The opening page of the issue delivers an immediate shock, hooking you. The next page delivers an emotional blow shattering your hope and bringing forth an overwhelming feeling of outrage mixed with sadness. This emotion lingers throughout the rest of the issue connecting you to Ira Rath in a way that never occurred in the previous issues. However, Aaron does try to temper the emotion with the next few pages hinting the opening pages might be a dream, but also delving a little deeper into Ira Rath’s psyche and what he envisions as an end for himself.
The issue really hits its stride during the brutal action sequences. Ron Garney’s scenes are explosive and brutal. The level of violence is quite possibly greater than the original Red Dawn. There is no room for injuring or incapacitating. There is only one end. The violence is varied; Garney uses a number of different methods to inflict death, but also keeps it low tech and grounded in reality.
One of the more interesting aspects is the use of full black pages with internal monologue on it. Aaron uses them to move time forward, but also to mirror Ira’s memory. He literally blacks out and does not remember huge gaps of time except for specific flashes. The memory flash is created by bookending the memory with the blackout pages. This technique at first was a little confusing but the second time they use it, you get it and marvel at its brilliance.
Another aspect that really stood out and helped bring the characters off the page was Jared K. Fletcher’s lettering for Ira’s speech. He uses a squiggly cloud bubble so that his voice is almost cracking and difficult to understand—you hear these attributes as you read the words. He also uses normal speech bubbles that are connected to each other with squiggly lines emphasizing the emotion being expressed by the character.
Matt Milla’s colors create a dark vibe throughout the entire issue. His use of lighting highlights the character’s facial expressions detailing their emotions, but he is also able to use it to draw your eye to the action sequences focusing it on the point of conflict or tension.
Not everything was great; there is a major plot gap where you have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit especially given what has happened to Ira’s son, Ira’s condition in the hospital, and the ensuing action sequence. It doesn’t really add up. The opening page definitely shocks and hooks you, but the bullet wounds look more like bruises from a beating. If you hadn’t read the last issue you might not realize they are gunshot wounds. There was also one minor spelling error.
Aaron and Garney wrap up this issue bringing closure to the story of Ira Rath. You come away feeling satisfied with the ending, but may have mixed feelings concerning Ira which is actually a good thing because it either means you loved him or hated him. Aaron may have completed Ira’s story, but he also piques your interest with a brand new character and what their story may hold.
Is It Good?
Men of Wrath #5 is a complete issue from beginning to end except the one plot gap mentioned above. It wraps up the story of Ira Rath very nicely leaving you satisfied. There is a ton of action in the issue with Garney using a full array of methods to inflict death. Fletcher’s lettering really brought the characters off the page giving them a voice you hear as you are reading. It was action-packed and full of vengeance with a touch of remorse.