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In The Army of Dr. Moreau #3, things are finally beginning to heat up. I use the word “finally” lightly, as this is only the third issue and the encounters I’ve been waiting for with bated breath have either happened or are on the verge of happening. There are also some fascinating themes being introduced, some of which echo H.G. Wells’ original story and the true-to-life questions it asks. This comic is beginning to live up everything I knew it could be. [spoilers to follow]
You just can’t help but root for Edward Prentiss. I’ve felt that way since the beginning, and I feel that way now. For three whole issues, we’ve been watching him get ridiculed and mocked. I think it goes without saying that Prentiss will get the last laugh—although, there very likely won’t be very many chuckles. He’s a deeply troubled man who’s about to face the stuff of his nightmares, although this time around it might be the “monsters” who need saving.
The modestly sized team of soldiers that brought on Prentiss as guide have finally started to make their way towards the interior of the famed island. I particularly enjoyed the sequence of them traversing swamps and tall grass—well out of their comfort zones. “This sure isn’t Brooklyn.” “Ain’t Liverpool neither,” they agree. This comic straddles so many genres, and issue #3 puts the “adventure” in “action & adventure.” Those moments might seem small in the greater scope of the story, but they add so much to the setting; I feel like I’m right there with them.
There is a major discovery at the start of this issue, and I believe it has a lot to do with why the Nazis are finding it so difficult to mesh their interests of world domination with the research of Dr. Moreau. Moreau wasn’t interested in creating weapons, he was out to create morality—or summon it from the deepest depths of an animal’s subconscious. The Nazis want killing-machines, but instead all they’ve got is an island full of man/beast hybrids that question right and wrong more than, well, Nazis do—far more.
David Walker has done a phenomenal job at writing this issue of The Army of Dr. Moreau. He has put us in a position to question the humanity of beasts, and the beastliness of mankind. Prentiss is the embodiment of this question in a scene by the campfire. He’s asked why he came back to the island that has haunted him for a lifetime. His response is that men act like animals, and that he’d rather be around animals that act like men. There is not setting better than the seemingly apocalyptic time during World War II to raise these sorts of questions. This comic is a homerun.
I was particularly pleased with Carl Sciacchitano’s artwork throughout the entirety of this issue. His panel-less pages early on are extremely cinematic, and their progressions are almost dream-like—an exceptionally appropriate choice of style for Prentiss’s flashbacks to conversations he had with Dr. Moreau. When he needs to convey chaos, his panels once again follow suit with a crooked and disorganized arrangement (successfully intentional disorganization). The varying techniques displayed throughout are quite effective.
I enjoyed all aspects of The Army of Dr. Moreau #3. The balance of adventurer exploits with glimpses into the wildly brutal experiments being conducted by Nazi lunatics is ideal. I’m interested to see where this story will go. Issue #4 promises to be very significant in the way of advancing the narrative, and the team of heroes will have a lot to consider as they take their next steps into the belly of the beast.