Cemetery Beach #7
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Howard
With its seventh and final issue, Cemetery Beach comes to a close. Michael and Grace have nearly reached their means of getting back to earth. With all other options exhausted, the tyrannical colony authorities resort to their unconventional secret weapon. This issue features the most impressive visuals of the series. Unfortunately, they lead to a less than satisfying ending. Cemetery Beach #7 sets up memorable stakes and has effective buildup. But the resolution is too abrupt and leaves the reader with a cliffhanger.
While the ending itself is inconclusive, it also fails to properly explore the protagonists’ potential. It does handle the president well. He’s so obsessed with power that he’s willing to destroy vast swathes of the colony to maintain his authority. He’s not a particularly nuanced villain but it’s certainly entertaining and it works for the story. However, it turns out Michael’s generic action movie hero personality is not a façade. His exaggerated backstory and motivation are presented without irony here. While earlier issues introduced some complexity, none of it shows up. Like the president, Michael fulfills his role adequately but his character doesn’t accomplish much else. Grace is still more interesting than Michael but she ends up as a spectator in what is the climax of the series.
Cemetery Beach #7 maintains the high quality of art seen throughout the series. It manages to make the Blitzen, the gargantuan escape craft that drives the book’s climax, absurd, intimidating, and impressive all at once. The issue features a number of two-page spreads, an excess that is entirely justified by the amount of detail Jason Howard fits into each one. Most importantly, they convey the scale of the climax, lending it an appropriately epic atmosphere. These spreads also remind the reader of just how long Michael and Grace’s journey was, as the Blitzen batters its way through the entire colony. While the writing of Cemetery Beach didn’t live up to expectations, Howard’s art went beyond them in this final issue.
Cemetery Beach feels like it ended an issue too early. Outside of that, some of the decisions made with the characters and plot feel a little too obvious. Even then, the series stays interesting through robust, functional writing and stellar art. Issue #7 less than subtly sets up a sequel. Even if it doesn’t fill the holes left by Cemetery Beach‘s conclusion, it’ll likely still be worth a read. If only to see what Ellis and Howard come up with next. It’s hard to imagine anyone else making a seven-issue long chase sequence as interesting as they did.
Cemetery Beach #7
While it's not the most satisfying of endings, it's more than adequate for this surprisingly enjoyable series.