The prophecy motivating Cal Victus is fully fleshed out while Spry and his ragtag team attempt to track down Victus’ ship in order to save his mother. Is it good?
Shaper #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
Eric Heisserer begins this issue of Shaper with a flashback to a more peaceful time where Cal Victus’ father has rescued his planet from a great flood with an uncanny ability to see into the future. Despite the peaceful times, Heisserer characterizes the young Cal Victus as a bored individual; however, the images depict him as cruel. He toys with an insect before furiously crushing it between the pages of his book. There are some issues with how he characterizes the young Cal Victus, stating his gift to see ten seconds into the future makes him dangerous and fearless. This is not the case for his father, who also happens to be able to see into the future, but is not limited by time. He is characterized as warm-hearted, wise, and loving. It would seem his talent would make him even more dangerous and fearless compared to his son.
If you thought there was a huge Star Wars influence on this book before, there can be no doubt now. As Spry and the crew begin tracking down Cal Victus, there is a scene where Kaylen, the other Shaper, attempts to train Spry to control his abilities. Much like Luke Skywalker, he struggles and lacks patience. Despite these struggles, it bonds the two not only through their mutual struggle and Victus, but in a way that only a teacher and a student can bond. This scene is followed up by one reminiscent of Grand Moff Tarkin, threatening the destruction of Alderaan if Princess Leia does not give up the location of the rebel base. Instead, Victus threatens to wipe out Corra, the planet Spry grew up on, if Niva, Spry’s mother, does not reveal the location of Solace, the Shaper home world. It’s a good scene that shows Victus’ psychotic nature in the pursuit of protecting himself from his father’s prophecy.
The pacing is generally good throughout the issue; except in the beginning it is a little slow and towards the very end it moves extremely rapidly becoming a little hard to follow the chain of events. This has to do with an unclear explosion or possibly ship launching into hyperspace. It’s rather murky as to what is happening.
The action sequences by Ace Continuado are compelling. There is one page where Kaylen attacks a troop of Victus’ soldiers, tearing through them in a werewolf form. He captures her ferocity by maintaining the camera position in front of her, putting you in the spot of one of the soldiers. He did a great job depicting both Spry and Kaylen shape-shifting. With Spry, he is focused on training thus Continuado drags out the transformation across multiple panels depicting his struggle. In contrast, Kaylen transforms easily, only requiring one panel to do so. He uses different techniques as well. In one he depicts Kaylen shifting as she comes out of a tuck and roll. In another he uses a close-up of her face to show multiple levels of transition into the final form.
Despite the engaging action sequences and transformation panels, much of the world is lacking richness. The space scenes do not inspire any kind of awe that you get from a movie like Interstellar. The inside of the ship is also plain, mainly filled with cargo boxes and nothing else. Even the scene where the young Victus crushes the bug between the pages of a book lacks detail. It is a blank page with nothing on it.
Is It Good?
Shaper #3 starts off a little slow providing exposition on Victus’ father, but gradually builds to a tumultuous ending. There is real danger whether Victus is threatening the destruction of a planet or Tor Ajax is ambushing Spry’s ship. The character emotions ran high and it allows you to connect and relate to them. Continuado did a great job with the action sequences and depicting the transformations, although the world lacks detail and richness. It is a tad underwhelming and not very fantastical.