Issue #2 is here and like the first one, it did not disappoint.
Building up the risk element from the first issue, we pick up from where we left off with Edison Crane and special CIA Agent Rachel Straks on the way to the Kremlin. Apparently, there is a scroll at the Kremlin Library that explains how to stop this alien invasion and there is a collection of an ancient tracing that will reveal the entire plan.
The gravity of this invasion is clearly stated with a flashback that opens the issue. This happened a week before she met Edison, between her and a certain general who was coming clean about an invasion from a parallel earth and that some of the richest people on the planet are helping this invasion to come into fruition. But he is quickly shot and silenced and Rachel fears for her life and spends off.
While their private plane made their way into Moscow territory and Rachel giving Edison a background of how she came to see him, elsewhere in Belgium in a palatial and medieval structure called the Castle of Darkness, a group of boys wake up to fading rays of the sun. Their beds, bare and consisting nothing more of a cot and pillow are laid side by side and facing a wall that had a painted image of a creature that bore the upper body of a man but with the lower torso and head of a goat! On its forehead rests a painted star and its arms spread out as if in supplication and its wings unfurling. It’s legs are crossed as if in mediation and seated amidst a big Red circle behind it and on either side an image of the Earth. Two, in fact, with one on each side.
The image itself speaks volumes of the supernatural implications of their surroundings and the ominous reason why they are in the castle. You can't get any less occult than the image of Baphomet on your wall! One of the boys waking up said that all he remembered was that he was at a party, and that a woman told him to drink the orange juice, which actually tasted funny. And next thing he knows, here they are all bunkered in this large room like servants awaiting the summoning of their masters.
The five kids, consisting of four boys and a girl are soon greeted by three men garbed in military clothing. They are led through a hallway with mounted heads of children with their mouths all sewn shut! Soon the hallway opens up to a garden where a group of men, all impeccably dressed in three piece suits and donning a beret all look at them menacingly, with each possessing a rile slung around their shoulders. What we saw in the hallway confirms that these children were drugged and kidnapped for all along. It was for a hunt and it has begun for a sinister fellowship that call themselves the Brotherhood of the Dragon. As it was hard for me to read this part of the comic as it involved killing the children, I opted not to add any panel images from the issue. I understand that this is to show the cruelty of the Brotherhood and how devoid of any remorse they are., but reading it doesn't make it easier.
Meanwhile in Moscow, it’s a touchdown for Edison and Agent Straks as they are met by the Russian Chief of Staff, General Gogol. Lucky for them, Putin is off to Belarus for a diplomatic meeting with President Lushenko. This made whatever Crane was planning for much easier, for without warning, he quickly knocked Gogol unconscious by accessing his own Chi and putting his fingers on his forehead. A trick he learned from his Asian masters. Agent Straks is surprised and livid as she wonders how they will be afforded access now. But here we are given another reason to love Edison. Suave and sophisticated as always he assures Rachel that here was nothing to fear. He said as the Chief of Staff will be taken to a nearest hospital and the reason why the rest of the staff are being so helpful and cooperative is because Edison himself has bribed the entire Kremlin!!! I kid you not. He could give Tony Stark a run for his money!!!
What is half a billion dollars when it could afford them thirty minutes into the secret archives! Is he rad or what??? I wanna be his friend!!!
While down there he reveals to Agent Straks the reason for his “deception”. They are not really going to the archives but to the Lost Library of the Moscow Tsars and it was hidden behind a wall of red bricks. We are told that the library itself has been built by Ivan the Great and has long been rumored to hold Russia’s most secret papers. Later the room itself was sealed by Josef Stalin and that no one has been in it for over eighty years!
After smashing through the wall with large hammer, they enter into a dark library that housed books from different times in history, from the library of Alexandria to documents detailing the execution of Christ. Edison reasons that if the scroll they seek is to be stored, it would be here and not in the supposed archives that Agent Straks claim. But much to their chagrin, the scroll that they seek had been stolen. Or rather moved before the library was sealed.
Here is where Edison’s brain kicks into gear once more as facets of his mind, all represented by images of himself drawn on the page for us to see, all converge and talk to themselves at the same time, huddled and converging on the problem. One Edison suggests that while the scroll is gone, the tracings that were based on age-old carvings could still exist and that if they can find the surface where the scrolls came from, perhaps that would be a good place to start. The other Edison suggests checking the records where the scroll was last found and follow the path back to the source. While it is a search that could take considerable time, it is the only recourse they have to prepare against a parallel-earth invasion.
Upon checking the records, Agent Straks has uncovered that the scrolls were taken from a Himalayan temple in 1732 where it was heavily guarded. Once again, lucky for them, the coordinates were duly recorded as well. Looks like they need to pack new gear for snow!
The issue thus ends with members of the Brotherhood of the Dragon investigating the crash site of an alien ship in Cape Town in South Africa. We see that the head of the Brotherhood is fuming at the result of the space ship crashing and burning as it entered our Earth.
Millar shocks us with the info that these people have been waiting 50 centuries for their “Masters” and that "they are failing their own people". But what they can salvage from for the moment is a bomb contained in the ship that can wipe out entire cities. While the father who calls himself Grand Dragon is beside himself, his son Francis merely feels that luck is upon them and him personally, for one more mistake from his father and he would automatically replaces him as the head of their order.
Who are these members of this Brotherhood? They claim allegiance and solidarity with the invaders which could only suggest and infirm that they are not of our Earth and that they have always been here for thousands of years. Have they been sent here to colonize us or were marooned here and were now awaiting rescue along with the prospect of colonization?
For whatever dire purpose it may serve, things can only go from bad to worse as Mark Millar has certainly served another wonderfully concocted dish of action, mystery, suspense and intrigue. James Bond definitely has nothing on Edison Crane.
Time for Issue #3. Let’s go!
Here's a look at the cover for the next issue.
If the cover is anything to go by, you know that the where Edison is going, things ain't done the easy way.