I sincerely love it when I jump into a series arc at the midpoint without any prior introduction, but end the book free of any nagging questions as to things that might have come to pass before. I feel like this is the hallmark of a good writer, and certainly not a trait every author possesses. Fortunately for me, G Willow Wilson has this ability in spades, making for a wholly absorbing reading experience for me and, I surmise, anyone else who tries reading this without the benefit of having read Book 1 beforehand.
In Edge Of Everything, the crew of the freighter Sundog has exposed the conspiracy between the ruling Lux conglomerate and the predominant Renunciation religion. Now they’re low on fuel and desperate to resupply, with the closest planet being the isolationist Rool. Captain Grix wants their renegade ex-Renunciation sister Vess to negotiate with her people for them, but Vess is understandably reluctant, having turned her back on Roolian society in order to pursue an ascetic’s path. What she hadn’t counted on was forming a connection with Grix strong enough to make her falter in her purpose.
It’s while floating in Roolian airspace that the Sundog is beset by a crew of pirates ready to break the ship down for scrap. Grix has no intention of accepting any of their blandishments to join their crew, but getting free of them will require a lot more cunning and derring do than even she anticipates. What will the crew do when all seems lost, and only the infinite void is seemingly left to claim them?
Ms Wilson’s writing is immediately immersive and gripping, deftly imbuing each of her characters with full personalities despite having a good-sized cast, lots of action to get through and not much space to cram all that into either (Xether’s my favorite!) There are certainly no soggy middles here in the second book of what’s meant to be a three-part series! The only complaint I have about any of the writing is the off-putting inclusion of inappropriately timed sexy times: other people may dig that, but “barely out of life-threatening injury recuperation and presence desperately needed to avoid a crisis involving several others who depend on you” is not, for me, the most germane five minutes in which to start exploring a new sexual relationship.
Art-wise, I’m genuinely surprised I’ve never read a book by Christian Ward before. His style reminds me of a cross between Frank Quitely and Jamie McElvie, both artists whose work I’ve greatly enjoyed. I kept thinking that I had seen Mr Ward’s art elsewhere, but never, apparently, in a full book that I’d read. The colors especially are truly outstanding, combining shades that shouldn’t work well together but absolutely do, adding to the alien feel of the sci-fi story.
This was a surprisingly original, extremely professionally put-together comic book arc that, while not requiring prior familiarity with the series, absolutely made me want to read lots more, both before and after. This is currently my front-runner for the Hugo for Best Graphic Story, but there are still three more titles for me to read through, including two works from one my current favorite writers, Kieron Gillen. Stay tuned for my review of all three!
Invisible Kingdom Vol. 2: Edge Of Everything by G. Willow Wilson & Christian Ward was published June 16 2020 by Berger Books and is available from all good booksellers, including