by Ben Templesmith
Last issue, Ben Templesmith established a number of great threads to the very interesting and unique world he has created. Readers were introduced to the Dark Father, a queen learned a good bit more about the book’s lead, Jack. The book had expanded significantly after just a second issue, and it was with that momentum that readers return to Squidder #3 for more of the very twisted post-apocalyptic world.
These squid creatures that have converted the world into their own host planet have some ability to be in communication telepathically. The priestess with whom Jack has teamed sensed that something happened to one of the sisters that had left the cause and the two set out to find her. The issue, which does not revisit the quite sinister Dark Father, does cut back and forth between this main plot and Queen 59B. That name is not something that Templesmith spends any time explaining, but the awareness of the inhabitants and their actions gives some hints to the current Queen being one of many. It’s not definite, but that potential implication is rather unsettling. As readers discover the hideout of the sisters and learn more about Jack, they are continually treated with glimpses of Queen 59B as she tracks and plans to thwart this faction of dissenters.
Templesmith shrouds much of this issue, especially the moments with the queen in heavy shadows. The world of Squidder on the whole is rather dark. Templesmith’s color palette for the world balances the darks in the book in such a way that, even in the loose design and rendering of setting and character, the images do not get muddy. From panel to panel, readers may recognize that the coloring is not distinct for any one object. Instead, it seems as though Templesmith creates a hue or texture of colors over which he lays his pencils. It is a technique that is unlike that employed by other artists in comics, and should make the pages rather confusing. Instead, not only does it distinguish his art form, but it also becomes an appealing aesthetic to each issue and setting.
The story in Squidder #3 focuses on the destiny of Jack. A squidder who has been fighting for over a century, Jack is revealed to have some genetic ability that leaves him both partly human and partly squid. While this makes for a jaw-dropping sequence, followed by some exciting action, it will be curious to see Templesmith explore, through Jack, the concept of being genetically linked to the thing he so despises. In Squidder #3, the story feels to only advance slightly. Though the direction the story may go has shifted as a result of this chapter’s events, the momentum has slowed slightly here.