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As Tony and Cary exit the earth, Gil and Orian join the battle and increase the odds of Bette's kill shot. Before joining the battle, Orian continues to be his questionable self as he inspections Bette's gun and questions her on her powers. As the earthquake begins to take effect the other half of the Paradigm show up lead by Qubit. He calculates the damaged done by Cary and Tony's fight and must now convince one of them to fix what they've destroyed.
Qubit is able to convince Cary to stop the fight and fix the fault line they destroyed, but Cary forces Qubit to promise not to interfere with their plans. The problem Qubit faces is the following: Does he allow them to kill Tony and have Orian invade the earth with others from his dimension or kill Orian and hope that he can one day reason with Tony.
Orian is easily the most interesting character of the series. Perhaps it's the fact that he's always honest with his evil intentions. After Cary leaves the battle Qubit asks Orian if he has an invading army waiting for his command to which Orian answers, "Oh Qubit, you know me to well. Don't tell Cary, it'll spoil the surprise." It's great dialog that makes you love and hate the character.
The issue struggles with its pacing and focus. There's an epic battle going on and everyone comes off very calm about it considering it's nearly the end all be all of the series. Most of the concern is on the fault line that has been destroyed and Qubit not wanting to kill Tony. Mark Waid introduces another sub-plot to the series as he closes the door on second and continues a third. Sub-plots are actually quiet good and perhaps more interesting than the main story has become, but there's too much going on for anything to really stand out as exceptional. As it is, it's just good but really could be great.
I wonder if in an attempt to continue the series' popularity, they've began just simply pumping out issues rather than giving the book a month off to come back refreshed and with a clearer vision. If the plot doesn't slow down it's possible that the series could run out of places to go other than where it's already been.
The art also looks as if it's rushed. Diego Barreto struggles with Tony throughout the entire issue. Sometimes he has broad shoulders and is the size of a tank, other times he's dainty and normal looking. What's interesting is that the it's never a problem with the other characters. Orian, who has a strange appearance to begin with, never once looks wrongly proportioned or unrecognizable. Tony is supposed to be the most recognizable character and instead he's playing second fiddle to everyone else in the book.
This issue isn't very strong from a technical stand point, but it is entertaining and full of surprises. It's may actually end up being a land mark in the series as the multiple sub-plots are developed, but for now it's just a fun read that wraps up some hanging issue for the series. Hopefully Waid and team have a new and interesting twist waiting in the next issue.
Overall Score - 7.8/10