Eve Stranger #5 – Review

And here we are, guys, gals, and non-binary pals, at the fifth and final issue of Eve Stranger, the jewel in Black Crown, and IDW Publishing imprint’s well-adorned tiara. I wasn’t expecting the fifth issue to be the last one already, but if this is how things go out in the world of purple-haired Eve and her coterie of friends and foes, it’s not a bad final inning.

The final issue takes place shortly after the fourth issue with Eve awakening and finding herself apparently cured of her affliction thanks to the efforts of her boyfriend Jimmy Mac and her growing group of friends and allies, namely genius billionaire Sebastian Madden and hyper-intelligent gorilla Samantha, a sequence cleverly interpolated with a childhood flashback, revealing that the pair grew up together, providing them a further and deeper shared history and a real leitmotif of sweetness into their present-day romantic relationship.

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This issue does a stellar job of tying together the comic’s issues and ongoing threads into a mostly-satisfying way; Eve and co. resolve her biggest immediate threat (being mind-wiped in order to stop her once-toxic blood from killing her) and turn their attention to rescuing Eve’s recently-discovered mother Atsuko and stopping the insidious EVE Project from their sinister machinations.

There are twists and turns that I won’t delve into for the sake of spoiling the final issue, but the way that things are concluded ensures that there is some future scope for the series should it be resurrected Atsuko-style and a clear narrative just waiting for the team to continue, along with a core group of likable, engaging characters.

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It goes without saying that Phillip Bond’s art (along with Jane Heir on letters and Eva de la Cruz on colours) continues to impress on all fronts, providing some gorgeous, inventive, and hilarious visual moments (a standout is an assault on a frozen outpost in which the genetically-modified Samantha tosses hapless goons away, all while wearing a princess tank top). All of this supports David Barnett’s story which, truncated as it may be with the series’ cancellation, manages to admirably provide as close to a ‘series finale’ as can be hoped for in this situation.

For context, the Black Crown imprint has sadly closed, but it leaves behind a legacy of smart, funny, inventively-told stories across a number of different worlds and genres. As for Eve Stranger, I can think of no more fitting ending than of our violet-haired heroine emerging into a new world, looking to save her loved ones, defeat evil, and save the world, all while armed with a super-team of friends and loved ones she didn’t have at series’ start. This isn’t so much going out in a blaze of glory as it is ending on a real high. Well done, Black Crown. Well done.

Eve Stranger #5 is out now from IDW Publishing.

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