I’m unsurprised to see writer Peter Milligan downshift Absolution’s pace this issue. The action opens on streaming assassin Nina finishing her outing from last issue and quickly becomes about establishing the actual ground situation. First issue, Milligan did the world set-up; now it’s time to lay out Nina’s “normal” life.
While the action might open on Nina, the issue starts with a yucky one-page scene introducing one of Nina’s fans, a masseuse coerced by a powerful customer. Throughout the issue, the fan—Stevie—messages Nina, and it’s not clear how Nina reads those messages (or any of the messages). Milligan still uses Nina as a first-person narrator, but the stream comments add a different layer. The reader’s experiencing both, and even though I’m not a fan of stream comments, they’re a successful device.
Less successful is the brief panel discussions about Nina and her assassinating. Andy Garcia cameos as Nina’s doctor, who scrapped the killer instinct out of her brain (which also comes up in Nina’s plot line a bit). Artist Mike Deodato Jr. barely tries to disguise the photo referenced Garcia, though no one else this issue (except Woody Harrelson as the panel host again) jumps out.
Milligan and Deodato do Absolution as an eighties cyberpunk, with revised futurism and dystopian details. Unfortunately, the panel’s dated, and if Milligan weren’t being so obvious, it’d be more successful.
But the plot’s moving into unexpected territory, at least based on the plotting so far. I’m waiting to see how Milligan paces next issue. He’s got choices.
Absolution’s an okay “soft sci-fi” action book. It’s compelling and looks good. Some of the writing’s problematic—the panels and their smooth-talking liberal intellectual guests—but the rest makes up.