Having moved to a bi-monthly schedule, N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell’s Far Sector #8 has been a long time coming since the tumultuous events of the prior chapter. The wait was certainly worth it, however. This eighth chapter builds upon the newest element added in the previous issue while sprinkling in even more political intrigue, sci-fi noir, and additions to the Green Lantern mythos while never feeling overstuffed. With incredible art by Jamal Campbell and solid lettering from Deron Bennett, Far Sector continues to be one of the most consistently entertaining books on shelves right now.
“While still processing her feelings about Councilor Marth, Jo tracks down the “riders” who killed Averrup Thorn, and gets the first hint of what’s really going on beneath the surface of the City Enduring. Reporting to the Council, Jo is disgusted to realize she’s facing the same kind of callous, responsibility-avoiding bureaucracy as back home on Earth.”
Writing & Plot
It’s impossible not to notice just how much story N.K. Jemisin is able to cram into an issue of Far Sector, and she keeps it up here in the 8th issue. The action-filled opening sequence is backed up by a sleek narration cataloging the events that led to this moment. The class issues that fuelled the @At race’s story are brought to an emotional peak that Jemisin has been able to accomplish with pretty much every character and species she has introduced thus far. The deeply cyberpunk influenced prior issues fade into a somber sci-fi neo-noir in this chapter, complete with political corruption, battered romance, and a hero at her wit’s (and power’s) end. Going back and re-reading the prior issue is a must for this series, as although the recaps in the opening pages are good, they don’t quite cover enough to keep readers completely up-to-date between the two-month breaks. The fantastic pacing of the story in each issue is largely made up by Jemisin’s style of stylistic but informative dialogue. Each conversation in Far Sector feels significant and memorable, offering insight into the events of the story as well as the characters in it. This is comics dialogue at its near-best, as it performs the job of narration without ever feeling too boggy or exposition-filled.
An odd choice that dates this comic a bit has to do with how the @At, a race of virtual artificial intelligences, survives and the specific currency Jemisin devises for them. There’s a use of internet memes that has been prevalent for much of the comic and they unfortunately feel a bit dated. These are memes that haven’t been currently popular in quite some time, so it makes the comic feel older than it should. Beyond this, the integration of cultural and political themes with the mythos of one of DC’s most iconic universes feels outstanding. It’s familiar but completely new, and just in terms of writing is a treat for any fan of the medium, GL fan or otherwise.
Look, every review of Far Sector is just going to have me gushing about how outstanding Jamal Campbell’s art is. So here I am again with Far Sector #8 doing the exact same thing. Campbell’s slick, digitized style brings this world and its many races and characters to life with a shimmering beauty almost completely unseen in comics, sci-fi or otherwise. Outside of his dazzling designs, animations, and color usage, he Campbell covers wide swaths of story with his panel direction. There are many moments where characters break through panel borders as either the focus of action or a scene’s primary dramatic offering. Campbell has a way of making characters leap off the page even when they’re just standing still and speaking. There’s a scene with an “enthusiastic” discussion between The City Enduring’s politicians and Jo Mullein in a large council room. Campbell is constantly shifting the focus and scope among the characters as well as around this massive hall, so even when the camera is “zoomed” all the way out it still feels like you’re right in a character’s face. The fight choreography is fantastic as well, with the opening sequence being a visual feast of virtual change-ups and absolute beatdowns. Deron Bennett has provided his simple but elegant letter-smithing throughout this entire experience, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone else covering it now. The Eisner nominated letterer uses fonts that don’t get in the way of the experience with their subtlety but let fly with how spot-on they are for dialogue tone and specific characters. Once again, absolutely incredible visual work from this team.
Far Sector #8 brings another blend of genres to this stunning sci-fi-crime-space opera. N.K. Jemisin’s script is loaded with emotion, political and social complexity, and tight characterization that can be a lot to take in but never feels like it’s too much. Jamal Campbell’s art is second to none in the world of current sci-fi comics, offering a crystalline beauty like nothing else in the medium. This is easily one of the best books DC is offering right now, so be sure to grab this new issue when it hits your local comic shop on 10/6!