Artist David Marquez
Colors Digikore (#1-3, The First Fold), Rachelle Rosenberg (#4),
Letters Troy Peteri
Covers Alex Ross (#1), Jorge Molina (#2), Ryan Benjamin (#3), David Mack (#4)
I’m a huge fan of the first Days Missing. It’s an amazing tale of humanity’s errors and flaws, and the one man who has the power to fix it all. Combined with rich characterization and gorgeous artwork from some of today’s best artists, it’s no surprise that it’s received numerous glowing reviews, and was even voted the Best Graphic Novel by Ain’t It Cool News. So when a follow-up, Days Missing: Kestus was announced, there was excitement abound.
Then…there was silence.
It’s not hard to understand why. The book was pushed back a few times. It finally came out in November, but by then I was in the thick of a killer school schedule and work, so I didn’t really have time to take a look at…well, anything. I figured the book was getting the same amount of fanfare, but you can imagine my surprise to find that it’s not receiving the same buzz the first volume did. And that’s a shame, because Kestus is fucking amazing. So now, with the finale hitting later this month, let’s explain why you need to read this book right now.
Picking up immediately after the conclusion of the original Days Missing, we learn the story of when The Steward met Kestus, another ageless much like The Steward, however she is unable to fold and alter times. Kestus instead resorts to manipulating humanity, convincing them that she is a deity of sorts and leading them to suit her own whims. We learn over the course of the book’s first four issues that the two have met throughout time, from the burning of Alexandria to the Y2K disaster, existing as enemies and friends (and apparently lovers, too).
The story’s focus on Kestus already puts this leagues above the original Days Missing. While the original was a great series, I feel it suffered greatly in that it played more like a series of one-shots, whereas Kestus is a linear story with a running narrative. As a result, the writing feels tighter, and we’re given more reason to look forward to the next issues. Phil Hester brings us a uniquely crafted tale that darts in and out of history, turning time and events into a tool used to play The Steward and Kestus against each other, pushing The Steweard to the limits of abilities he himself barely understands as he tries to show Kestus that humanity is worth saving. The two play off each other perfectly, creating a believable relationship and, in a rare case, a hero who doesn’t annoy or alienate the reader with his persistence to save humanity.
Further benefiting the book is the decision to stick with a regular series artist. Fresh off the success of the mystery thriller Syndrome, David Marquez breathes life into the book with a consistent, fresh style that accentuates the realism of the historical world, while still preserving and highlighting the alien nature of The Steward and Kestus, and the bizarre life they’ve been thrust into.
Accompanying each issue is Days Missing: The First Fold, a short story in five parts by Trevor Roth and Marquez which gives us a glimpse into the back story of The Steward, following him from his earliest memory and through his first adventure in the time stream. To see The Steward so vulnerable and inexperienced is strange, yet serves to further connect us to the bizarre figure as we see how confused and terrified he is by the situations he’s in, something which we start to see simmering underneath his cool demeanor as Kestus progreses.
As I mentioned above, it is an utter shame that this book isn’t receiving the buzz it deserves. Where Days Missing wowed us, Days Missing: Kestus exceeds all expectations and surpasses it in every way. With it’s rich blend of compelling, historical drama and science fiction story telling, Days Missing: Kestus is a book that readers will enjoy for years to come. Days Missing: Kestus #5 is slated for release later this month.