The New World #5

Writer: Aleš Kot
Artist: Tradd Moore
Color Artist: Heather Moore
Flatters: Ludwig Olimba, Heather Moore
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Designer: Tom Muller
Publisher: Image

Review by Christoph Staffl

This fifth issue of The New World marks the end of an outstanding series. I wrote about every single issue and was always wondering what the end of our heroes’ journey might be. A bombastic fight sequence? A tragic death? Do they have a future or at least one final, quiet moment in the end? Do the bad guys lose? My expectations were high, but I could not have prepared for the simplicity the creative team uses to deliver something extraordinary, with a simplicity that also represents something complex. That way we get all of the above, while nothing at all.

Previously on The New World: Stella infiltrates the station of the border control to give Val access to all of the government’s files and maybe grab some uniforms. Kirby and his dad meanwhile prepare their departure and should meet Stella at the end of an old tunnel, which leads near said border control. Godzilla, Stella’s cat, is with them and pranced ahead, annoyed with all the conversations. Lucky her, because as Kirby walked through the entrance of the tunnel, his father locked the door, staying behind to buy them enough time to escape.

Let me begin by saying once more how beautifully designed, drawn and colored this book is. The New World #5 again manages to create something new, while also relying on established themes. Tradd Moore’s drawing style is captured mostly in big broad panels, creating a feeling of grandeur. Within those large panels, he can play with wide establishing shots as well as incredible close-ups, presenting us readers with all the details of the landscape as well as those excessive facial expressions.

The colorist Heather Moore is on top of her game as well. With all the space to fill, the colors seem to pop right out of the pages – even more than in the last installments of the series. However, the creative team does not just rely on what they have done before. They also try something new, as they did with every issue. I will not spoil it for you, but with some seemingly simple tweaks, the final scenes drip with creativity.

Combine those artistic choices, with the author’s ability to make every single beat of the story hit, and you get a finale that does not just feel earned but cements The New World as a perfect series. I have nothing to complain about it. Over the last couple of months, we learned enough about our main characters and their antagonists, that their journey resembles a natural evolution of their pasts, as well as the things they have done throughout the series.

Stella and Kirby were destined to meet. And while one journey might come to an end, it also represents the beginning of something new. I dearly wish that the fifth issue of The New World is not the last time we walk the planes of this world. There are many more stories to tell.

The Verdict: Buy it.

Every single person of the creative team listed above contributed to something special. By creating The New World they not only designed a metaphor for our world, commenting on current events, but also managed to tell an intimate story. Stella, the former soldier, shaped by her ruthless father discovered her true self by meeting Kirby, a rebel through and through, enjoying his life as much as he can. Though their differences are many, they are also the reasons those two had to meet and why they work so well together. Two worlds collide and create a new one. I can confidently say, that this is one of the best series of 2018.

I tried my best not to give anything away in the main part of the review. But if you have read the issue or want to know more about it, I want to take a paragraph or two and talk about some specifics. So beware:

[Spoilers ahead]

Since I read The New World #5, two images stuck in my head. The first one concerns Kirby’s father, and his former friend, colleague and maybe even a fellow soldier (unfortunately their names are not mentioned in this issue, and I can’t remember them). He is the guy in the big grey samurai-inspired armor. Anyway, it may have been months or even years since they were on the same side. Now Kirby’s father is the only thing standing between his former friend, and Kirby and Stella. Both have changed their beliefs. As each of them fights relentlessly for a cause they hold dear, cutting and punching each other, one cannot ignore a feeling of hopelessness. Is this worth dying for? It seems an ironic end and in many ways an iconic end as well: they die arm in arm, pierced by the others man sword.

The second image concerns the wall. As Stella, Kirby, and Godzilla stand before this majestic monster of a wall, Val shows them, for just a moment, what it is. We don’t see, what they see, but instead, watch their reaction to it. What could it be? And as Stella makes her final speech she shows the world: the wall is a hologram, a lie. There is no wall, no border.

Both of those images and scenes do not offer any answers to questions we might have. Not just about the characters, but also about the situations they are in, their world and what that might mean for our own. What the creative team offers is far more significant: images composed of ideas. I want to end my journey through The New World with a quote from the movie V for Vendetta:

“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof.”

Christoph Staffl

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