City of Dust #5 Review
Bringing things to a tasty close, this horror/sci-fi mini-series from Radical Publishing is the final action packed issue, in what has been an engrossing tale.
As cop Philip Khrome, his partner Sonja and the android Blake enter a secret stairway under a statute of the city’s once revered scientist, Henry Ajax, they discover the library of books that inspired him in creating his robotic monsters that have been terrorising the populace as of late. As we learnt in the previous issues, Ajax’s dream was to remind the citizens of the power of imagination and creativity (which have been banned in this future). However, as Khrome dug deeper into various brutal deaths by monsters including wolf men and zombie look-alikes, he realised that even monsters created by men are still monsters, and they start to exhibit the blood thirsty traits of their literary namesakes.
While Khrome and co. do some quick research about the monsters strengths and weaknesses, Ajax is discovering them firsthand. Defended by his protective Frankenstein creation (who calls him father) Ajax is quickly beheaded, but like any good cyborg, still manages to communicate, apart from his torso.
The leader of Ajax’s fellow creations, Nosferatu learns of Khrome’s plans to bring these mechanical creatures of myth down, and goes on a hunt. Khrome, Sonja, Blake and Frankenstein fight back and blood and metal fill the air.
This is the quickest read of the series so far. There’s far less talking and more action than previous issues. It does seem slightly rushed and could have benefitted from a few more pages, detailing Nosferatu’s rise to power and desire to welcome the growing blood lust inside him. After such a grand build-up over the previous four issues, the showdown is a let down. However, in the last few pages we get the ending we’ve wanted throughout this series, as Khrome realises the mistakes of his past and understands the potential of the imagination. It wouldn’t surprise me if we get another mini-series set in Khrome’s world. I have a feeling Steve Niles has a few more tales to tell yet.
The art is okay in this finale. Brandon Chng, Zid and Garrie Gastonny have similar styles and for different artists, the pages aren’t too jarring. The series’ slick visuals and great lighting and texture effects have given City of Dust a great look in every issue. The Trade collecting the entire mini will be released in May and is well worth a look. It’s built upon a simple, but unique concept and the combination of jet packs and androids, with hungry monsters and brutal deaths is an engrossing one. For those who wished Blade Runner was directed by Wes Craven, your wish is Radical’s command.