As you can see above, the cover is both beautiful and eerie. I’m unclear though as to how exactly it relates to the story. The person depicted is wearing that creepy mask and is sitting on a throne of bones, but the only chairs mentioned so far in the story are The Watcher, The Ascendant Seat, The Scales, and The Stone Chair.
Great work from illustrator Tomm Coker and colorist Michael Garland. This issued featured much more color than the first four issues. The more colorful panels looked good and still somehow fit perfectly with the noir look of most of the book so far.
Early in the issue, Detective Dumas and Dr. Gaddis (who likes his coffee very, very weak – I can’t imagine this being a plot point of any significance, but who knows?) are in a diner discussing magic. Dumas wants to know what he’s dealing with after seeing a lawyer, at a command from Viktor Eresko bash his head against a metal table until he died. Gaddis informs Dumas that wealth is the “physical manifestation of power”. He also tells the story of the Cerro Rico, a mountain loaded with silver in South America that, on its discovery by Spain in the 1500s, was mined by slaves. So many of these slaves died in the mining that Gaddis refers to it as a biblical exchange of blood for power.
The primary focus of the issue is on Thomas Dane. We see him in his younger, carefree days of working for the CIA and setting up political assassins in South America in the 1970s. We also find out, through a series of journal entries from the late Daniel Rothschild, that by the mid-1990s Dane (and Rothschild himself) had largely lost faith in humanity. There is some drama at a Caina-Kankrin board meeting where Grigoria Rothschild is upset that Viktor Eresko is in attendance (people get very uptight about their twin sibling being murdered). Grigoria has Dane remove Eresko from the meeting and Eresko uses his magical powers to command Dane to kill himself that night. As he’s about to, he receives a phone call from Grigoria, and the spell is broken. It’s unclear if she broke the spell, or if it had something to do with the mysterious wraith Abby, who was in Dane’s apartment earlier. When Dane reports in to Grigoria, she orders him to find Wynn Ackermann, representative of the Ackermann family, who has gone missing.
This was frankly a slow issue, but that’s to be expected from time to time with as complicated a story as this. It won’t likely be anyone’s favorite issue, but it provides some needed exposition about Thomas Dane, Daniel Rothschild, and the money magic that forms the basis of the series.