Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #126 by Drew Barth
It’s been a full year since I last wrote about the first handful of issues of Far Sector and we return now to the series at its conclusion. I mentioned before how Far Sector was the kind of comic we needed at that moment—how it could capture the feeling of the time as only comics could during a time of massive social unrest. With its depictions of protests and police brutality coming months ahead of the George Floyd protests in early June last year, Jemisin and Campbell created a story that immediately resonated. How have things gone, one year later, now that the world has changed slightly and the series has ended?
When we last checked in with Sojourner “Jo” Mullein, the City Enduring was in a state after protests linked to both the emotional uninhibiting drug, Switchoff, and the first two murders in the city in about five hundred years. Since then, though? We’ve been through meme black markets and sweatshops, further murders, an attempted coup, and a fight in AI-space that could have killed Jo. You know, standard Green Lantern fare. But from Jo doing her best Kamina to the complete upheaval of society, Far Sector does not know how to stop. Jemisin and Campbell are masters are creating the kind of story and pacing that takes full advantage of comics as a storytelling medium. We can get whole issues of almost non-stop action with others that slow the pace and give us time to process and reflect alongside Jo herself. We fight as she fights, discover as she does, and rest in turn.
Even as Far Sector wears the Comic Book Action on its sleeve well, this is also Jemisin with her best lens on the societal ills we find ourselves in constantly. It proves, more than anything, that accountability and consequences are some of the most important things when writing a series about a whole society beginning to unravel. This isn’t a lone warrior fighting alone against a single tyrannical entity that ends in a bloody victory—Far Sector proves that shit’s too fantastical for fantasy. All change in this series is the effort of many more people, more than we ever see. It is the kind of thing that can fill a reader up with hope for something similar happening in their own lifetimes even if their own government tries every trick it has to keep something positive from happening.
As a series, Jemisin and Campbell have created a series where the ending absolutely feels earned as it is the result of hundreds coming together to make things better for their city. As much as we want to laud the single hero, the larger institutional changes of the City Enduring are through the effort of people. Even if it is only a couple people working and protesting, it is all of the small efforts that build up to a grander result.
Get excited. Get together again.
Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.