The Warning #9, titled “Smoke Guillotine,” is published Image Comics, written and illustrated by Edward LaRoche, with, colors from Brad Simpson, and letters by Jaymes Reed. In the prior issue, the Two-Six squad went face to face with the Red Machine, a towering being that visually looks part machine, part sentient alien life, and part demon that has crawled up from the wretches of Hell itself. The military unit were up against the worst odds, as the Red Machine continued to resist the barrage of attacks.
The Warning #9 picks up immediately after the events from issue eight and additionally, the pace is almost identical to the previous issue as well. The issue is high tempo, with loud action, and maximum impact visuals. Talking about the visuals and energy of this comic has become a very common theme in my reviews for the series. I have lauded all kinds of praise for LaRoche. When you read this comic, it’s hard not to just stare in admiration at the details that are captured on the page. Especially when you factor in that LaRoche is trying to visually tell a story between a group of cybernetically advanced Earth-born soldiers, fighting against a race of alien invaders that look like they’ve just crawled out of your nightmares.
In The Warning #9, the Red Machine continues to fight on, as the Two-Six squadron slowly dwindles in numbers. Luckily for them, the cavalry has arrived in the form of Jackknife, one of the four super soldiers deployed by the US government. It’s unclear what her abilities are since this is the first time we’ve met her for any length of time. The objective for her visit is clear, get the Red Machine away from the decimated Two Six squad.
You can feel the palpable tension within this issue. There is a sense of urgency and a grand threat. And for the first half of the comic, it’s only really conveyed via the art and colors, respectively provided by LaRoche, and Simpson. These two creators work so well together and it’s hard to imagine these illustrations with another colorist. They have continued to show us a story with visuals alone and it works.
While I have had my criticisms of the lack of dialogue during this series, The Warning #9 has struck the perfect balance with imagery and dialogue. The majority of the first half of the comic is all focused on Jackknife and her duel with the red beast (as pictured above). The second half of the story, on the contrary, has a lot of more communication between the characters that we’ve been less privileged to see. There are interactions between the high command of the military, the regrouping of the soldiers on the field of battle, and lastly, the disclosure of information between the two aliens first introduced in The Warning #7. It’s hard to say whether LaRoche has specifically designed the story to naturally arc with a lack of narrative, or if he’s been adapting as he goes, but there’s something rewarding in finally getting what I’ve been asking after for the last few issues.
This is the first time, since the first issue, I would say that Reed has had to really work with some deeper product, weaving the lettering into the story. He achieves that and provides some great work, especially in the meetings between Prin Salu and her adviser Narrowmeer. The dark background with the white lettering reflects the sinister look of the invading species and their harsh tone that’s reinforced through their dialogue. Overall, it really works well.
The final scene in this issue is stunning. The colors from Simpson are just stupendous, and I’ve gone back to just look at this page and admire the level of work put into it. Based on that scene alone, I highly recommend you go pick up this issue right away. The Warning #9 is my favorite in the series so far and well deserving of the praise I have given it.
The Warning #9 is available now wherever comics are sold.
The Warning #9
I highly recommend you go pick up this issue right away. The Warning #9 is my favorite in the series so far and well deserving of the praise I have given it.