blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Absolution (2022) #3

Absolution  3Artist Mike Deodato Jr. gets a little too bored with the art this issue—it’s another fight scene at night in a skyscraper. That repetitiveness figures into the problem Absolution’s revealing about itself writ large. The concept lends itself too much to repetitive storytelling. High-tech super-assassin Nina needs to kill bad guys in a way to score approval with her (civilian) audience, who watch her stream. And because the future’s just as shitty as the present, she’s got to be sexy doing it (which raises a question for later). So she does well, her score goes up. Then she goes something wrong, or something bad happens, and her score goes down. So she needs to do well again. But then something will go wrong again.

She starts this issue with an easy kill, but then it immediately goes wrong. So wrong a micro-bomb goes off in her brain to remind her to work harder. The explosion knocks her out, and she wakes up at the doctor’s. Not the legit doctor, but the underground “help those in need” doctor. This introduces a new character—Ann—who’s non-binary, which is apparently a thing for the comic so writer Peter Milligan can muse on whether non-binary people are real. Except Ann’s also… Nina’s only real friend and a good one at that, so… his musing’s confused and unnecessary.

That musing figures into the main plot, which has Nina deciding the way to get her score up is to off the rapist introduced last issue. The first page of this issue is post-rape, which needlessly gives Absolution some grit cred. It turns out the rapist is a high-powered businessman who sues anyone who threatens to talk about him being a rapist, including Woody Harrelson and the other talk show hosts.

I’m not sure this guy’s a believable villain. I mean, he’s a believable villain, but nothing about Absolution’s future implies he’d be considered one.

Once he’s established, it’s all about Nina taking him out. And, of course, what will go wrong when she does. It also reveals a problem with the scoring system. Milligan really needed to explain it better.

But it’s compelling and whatnot. However, Deodato ends up drawing people in the same scene at all different kinds of scale. He doesn’t even have time for fun photo-referenced faces. And I hope they don’t try to turn it into a streaming series. It’s clearly only got enough story for a ninety-minute and change movie.

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