The Warning #5 // Review
An extraterrestrial invasion is seen through the eyes of the military as they respond to bogeys descending on southern California in the fifth issue of The Warning. Writer/artist Edward Laroche’s 350-page invasion story continues its long, slow rollout with a long, moody descent into a seemingly hopeless situation. The military is scarcely able to face a threat that seems every bit as unstoppable as it is mysterious. Brad Simpson handles to color for the issue. The series continues to move with a monolithic immensity contrasted against the raw intensity of the military that is attempting to halt its progress.
The issue opens on military Operation: "All Weather Gladiator Two Six 5", minutes after the destruction of the second international space station. Three bogeys are mobilizing on southern California. The first one landed in Burbank. The second on somewhere in West LA. The third fell on the 5 Freeway. The military attempts to engage the invaders, but as one of them mentions towards the end of the issue, it’s hard not to feel like an Arawak seeing Columbus land in the 15th century. There’s no way to understand what’s happening let alone properly engage an enemy of such advanced tech.
With Earth’s forces so completely overpowered, this issue of The Warning feels more like a disaster story mixed with generous amounts of horror than it does an actual military tale. Laroche delivers the clean precision of poetry in military speak throughout the issue which does much to ground the story in a very cold and professional realism. There’s a haunting soullessness about it that feels like procedural echoes resonating through the impending end of the world. Laroche’s writing is steady even as the narrative goes over the edge and into the darkness of the invasion. The pacing of the issue is part of a much more massive mega-structure. The ending is harsh and abrupt. When this thing gets placed together in its full 350-page collection, the total density of the story will likely feel much more expansive. For now, it’s a bit ominous to watch it march out at a rate of 30 pages every month.
Laroche’s art carries the intensity of the story with an even-tempered hand. The movement of action across the page feels every bit as big as it needs to be to convey the feeling of doom and futility about military engagement. This issue reveals the face of the enemy, which might be the first real disappointment of the series. The enemy may originate from off-world, but it’s humanoid. There’s a great mystery missing in the soulless black-lipped face of the enemy with glowing green eyes in gleaming black armor. The alien looks cool and everything, but seeing it now for the first time tarnishes a bit of the inhuman mystery of what Laroche is delivering to the page. It’s still very vivid and distinct, but with a look that begins to echo the standard sci-fi invasion iconography. It’s not so cheesy as to look like something out of Star Trek, but the alien seems a lot less alien now that its face has been revealed.