We are now at the midway point in this mini-series. I’m both excited and worried. Three issues in and we’re still in the past. The good thing is that the end of this issue essentially brings us to the beginning of the first issue. But yeah, we only have two issues left to see this battle play out. So far A.J. Leiberman hasn’t really given me any clues as to where he’s going to go with the mini-series and that excites me. It’s very hard to tell if he has a happy ending in mind for the Doctor. Given the tone of the three issues so far, it’s entirely possible that we could even get an ending where he’s victorious over his employer but still ends up dead or in prison. There certainly is a tone of realism (minus the hallucination of the little boy) that could mean that even the best ending is a bittersweet one.
The issue sets into motion another wrinkle: his moment of altruism in which he brings the Franken-patient from the last issue to a hospital has attracted the attention of the authorities. So Ben is now on the run from both a mobster who has no qualms with killing his doctors and the Feds. Luckily he’s finally able to call in his favor from the Yakuza boss whose daughter he saved.
I still really like the Yakuza element to the story because it adds an alternative path the doctor could have chosen. While still not as legitimate as his previous job, he could have assisted those for whom it was too dangerous to go to a regular hospital. Sure, he might sometimes be patching up an evil mobster, but he would still be practicing ethical medicine rather than taking organs from unwilling donors. Even that, however, is a topic that Leiberman does his best to convince us is a grey area. After all, the real problem with black market is not that the organs are being transplanted - that act is saving lives! Rather it’s the matter of where the organs come from that is the reason we have laws against it.
I continue to love Colin Lorimer’s art. His deep inks add a shadowy darkness that truly belongs in this tale. There are times when I’ve been reading books from the Big Two that have truly beautiful art, but the art isn’t always in service of the story and that’s a shame. With an independent story, especially a mini-series, it’s much easier to make sure you can find an artist to give your story exactly what it needs - grit or cleanliness, darkness or brightness. There are times where Lorimer’s art appears to be the kind that would work perfectly on a black and white book and, with the muted colors, sometimes the brain is even tricked into ignoring the colors.
This mini-series is really great. If you want something gritty - truly gritty not “gritty” as in “look at us - we added blood and sex in the New 52”, but gritty in the noir way, then you need to be reading this. If I had to find fault - sometimes the dialog can waiver into cheesy territory, but it’s pretty rare. The great thing is that nowadays you can use ComiXology to catch up if your comic shop doesn’t have the first two issues.