by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson
Finale’s can sometimes fall after the major climax of the series, leaving the issue to cover mostly epilogue-like events. Albuquerque and Johnson have saved the excitement for the final issue. Last time, however, the story was still flooding readers with new information and tense sequences. Now, Trogan and his people work to flee their encampment as The Spear closes in. Still so much is unknown about the many eras and how the larger picture of this universe works, making for a very promising finale.
Dr. Hamm and Nila are still in the past with Collins, working to make the time machine functional again. The story opens here, with the color-coding assisting readers with recognizing the setting of this opening sequence. From the very start, Albuquerque and Johnson have managed to keep a great deal of tension running through the series with the multiple time periods. The story’s pace maintains a very high level as each instance of past, present, future or meld finds a way to deliver. Collins holds off wild life while the doctor and Nila finish the ship and prepare for departure. It’s an effective sequence, which concludes rather somberly.
With pages to go, Albuquerque and Johnson still seem to have a good bit of ground to cover. The series, which set up elements of fate along with time travel and spaces existing outside of time, has not filled in many of its mysteries as of yet. As readers are brought back to The Meld, Johnson and Albuquerque have crafted a classic, yet perfect setting for the final showdown between Joshua and The Spear. Windy cliffs and narrow bridges over a great ravine are the surroundings for this climactic sequence. Albuquerque’s pacing, use of perspective and the energy in these images all come together here. But a showdown between these two is not the only resolution readers seek in this final issue.
In moments, sporadically placed in the issues thus far, the creative team have left clues and intentional mysteries about the makeup of The Meld and just how the timeline of events leading different characters to this place has worked. However, many elements of the story have not quite connected just yet. In the final pages of this fifth issue, Ei8ht ventures down a path that looks to potentially answer these mysteries with even more unknowns. The lack of answers is a bit underwhelming, as this is the final issue of the story. That is, until the final page suggests this is only the start. With knowledge that Ei8ht has much more ahead, the elements that remain unknown when added to the new dynamics offered in this issue only raise the bar of intrigue for this story’s universe. Though Ei8ht has had a few bumps in the road, the latter half of this first arc, and the promise of more should leave readers rather satisfied awaiting the next arc in the story.