Last Broadcast #3
Written by Andre Sirangelo
Art by Gabriel Iumazark
Published by Boom! Studios
This is the first issue where I’ve felt really drawn in by the comic. Something about the last two issues held the reader at bay while the series offered clues as to what was really going on. Now that we’ve amassed enough information and established enough context, the story is really coming together.
In 1980, a man is driving along while listening to a radio broadcast about Houdini when he finds a bunker. In the present day, Ivan, Niko and Harumi are getting ready to enter the bunker we saw from before. After ribbing Ivan for his inexperience, the three enter the building and make their way through it. Along the way, they explain some of the history of urban exploration. They also explain that the original group that discovered the building has all died or disappeared except for one member. Entering a central chamber, they find a central pillar broadcasting a radio signal and recognize familiar symbols all over it.
Niko is knocked into a hypnotic trance and briefly hallucinates Blackhall, who shows her a familiar box. She realizes that it belongs to Landell, the guy from the bar in Issue #2, and now she knows how to open it. In the present, Ivan has figured out that he’s not being held in a hospital. Unfortunately, he figures out that he’s being held in the most difficult location in San Francisco to escape from.
Part of what made this issue easier to follow, and consequently more engrossing, was that most of the action was focused on the three breaking into the bunker. Earlier issues had a lot more locations and events to cover, but by focusing on just the bunker, we’re given time to focus in on the plot. It also has the added benefit of just focusing on Ivan, Niko, and Harumi, whose shared sarcastic banter is amusing to watch unfold. Sirangelo has written an interesting female character, which in comics today is something worth celebrating.
I’m sort of fascinated by Harumi and her behavior with Ivan, who she doesn’t really respect and mocks frequently. I like seeing female characters that are not beholden to male characters and not obliged to be love interests (which I hope will be the case here). The most boring character in fiction is one that’s just an object for another person, but Harumi isn’t that at all. If anything, Ivan is dependent on her for much of this story.
What makes this mystery work is that the clues it drops are intended to actively engage the reader. A bad mystery is one that the reader has no chance of solving on their own; they must depend on the narrator to explain it to them. A decent mystery will present clues for the reader to collect. A good mystery offers clues that the reader will have to interpret for themselves. There’s one section delivered in Morse Code, which I will leave it up to you to translate yourselves. This is a comic worth diving into to try and solve.