The Warning #3 // Review
A group of next generation super soldiers mobilizes to engage an unknown alien threat in The Warning #3. Writer/artist Edward Laroche continues a vast, ominous alien invasion story featuring coloring by Brad Simpson. It’s an idiosyncratically artistic addition to the alien invasion sub-genre that draws together various established elements of military-based sci-fi.
In its third chapter, Laroche’s story alternates between a very complex and meticulous military engagement of an unknown threat and genesis of Joshua—an elite soldier undergoing super-soldier modifications in the top-secret Project Quiet Knife. With military precision, the nonpareil combat brigade known as Gladiator Two-Six approaches an alien construct which appears to be assembling itself on Earth. The background on Joshua continues to develop with the unique concerns of a Hindu who is being transformed into a tool for war. “Artificial. Remade. Stronger. Faster. With the ability to endure what would kill a hundred men,” Joshua says. “I don’t think karma even applies to me anymore.”
Writer/artist Edward Laroche continues to show discipline and patience in delivering the story. The slow journey between soldier backstory and deployment into mystery continues in a very meticulously-rendered military culture. There is an inhuman poetry to military speak that Laroche embraces through much of the narration and dialogue of the issue. (Laroche delivers all of the dramatic military speak poetry that would go along with that.) There is an unknown invasion on earth and we still don’t get to see the aliens yet. We are still only scratching the surface, though. With the gentle balance between bits of past and training leading into the moment in the moment itself, The Warning could easily continue to be quite entertaining for another 50 issues or more in this same single military engagement. Laroche is carving human drama into the formality and precision of military life with a clever hand. The maintains a very tight balance in both tactical and human drama.
As an artist, Laroche has a steady hand. The ominous stillness of his panels pair well with the slow, methodical roll of the dialogue. There’s a sense of motion even when it’s not necessarily seen. There’s a sense of the danger even though it’s not felt on the surface. Laroche is really good at showing a tight formality on the surface when we know that there is something much deeper, overpowering and a hell of a lot more dangerous lurking beneath. In art as with the writing, Laroche’s intensity lies in what he isn’t showing. It’s a very disciplined approach to the drama of a very fantastic story. In a medium so often given to explosively cosmic action in alien invasions, Laroche shows a very stylish sense of calm. Relax. It’s only the end of the world.
Simpson’s colors carry a shadowy and murky mood throughout the issue punctuated by the ghostly glow of screens, the sheen of gunmetal and everything else that would expect with a military story. There’s a real heavy climax at the end of this issue. Clever decisions have been made with the coloring at the end of the issue with a giant blast at issue’s end. It feels very powerful. And it amplifies the work that Laroche brings to the page.
There are elements of The Warning that feel very familiar to any other military-based story. There is a powerful undercurrent of something deeper here, though. In an August 16th article on Image Comics’ website, Laroche referred to the series as the first act of an opera. The immensity of the story DOES feel a bit operatic. It’s like Independence Day crossed with Kubrick‘s 2001. This sort of fusion makes for a very interesting and unique exploration of alien invasion as Laroche’s opera continues.