Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Wes Locher and Eduardo Jiménez’s humorous sci-fi comic, Unit 44, comes to an end in issue #4. Will the silly, easily preventable fight between the human race and aliens reach a peaceful resolution, or have Agents Hatch and Gibson made everything that much worse?
Story & Letters: Wes Locher
Illustrations & Colors: Eduardo Jiménez
To recap, Unit 44 is a 4-issue monthly comic following Agent Hatch and Agent Gibson as they track down the contents of a storage unit full of top-secret items from Area 51. Everything in the unit was sold to a pair of rednecks at a public auction because Gibson forgot to pay the rent. Inside laid the Freedahken crystal, a powerful and symbolic object they must retrieve if they are to prevent a full-scale war with the Freedahken aliens. However, events escalate, taking Hatch and Gibson on a wildly hilarious goose chase. Read my review of issue #1 here and prepare for some SPOILERS for #4 below.
Issue #3 ended with former agent, Lance Albright, aboard a ship powered by the Freedahken crystal. He is determined to exact his revenge on Snahkuhn and destroy the Freedahkens. As established earlier in the story, Snahkuhn was the first alien that crash-landed on Earth decades before and made Albright’s life a living hell. Though his version of “hell” is amusingly subjective.
This final issue jumps right into the middle of the action. As Gibson holds onto Albright’s ship for dear life in an attempt to dislodge the crystal and save the world, Hatch is on the ground with rednecks Chester and Ike, and the remaining federal agents, in fighting the good fight against the Freedahken invasion. Emotional moments and confrontations are had between all parties involved, but not without plenty of tomfoolery and shenanigans along the way. While this last issue depicts a full-on invasion, one brought on by miscommunication and in my opinion, by the misinterpretation of the term “friendship,” it is safe to say there is an actual ending that won’t leave readers hanging.
Unit 44 #4 remains fun and outrageously zany, but it does lack a certain flair that the previous issues had. The jokes are a little on the nose, at least more than usual, which gets exhausting. However, a big factor may have to do with Gibson and Hatch spending a good chunk of the battle physically apart than together. The jokes land better when directed toward each other because their opposing personalities effectively balance out the other. Loosely speaking, there’s more at stake for them than any other character since writer Locher made readers love them from the beginning. It’s comparable to my feelings for BBC’s Sherlock. The story is just not as entertaining when you don’t have Sherlock and Watson bantering and adventuring around together. The magic of the narrative is lost without reinforcing that dynamic or making up for it in a different way.
The story also wraps up too conveniently. It would be nice to have some explanation concerning the whereabouts of Gibson and Albright at a certain point in the issue, and how the epic battle comes to a complete halt. Moreover, the character of Lindsay seemed under utilized. Her character’s motives were unclear and admittedly, I forgot why she was in the comic. I don’t expect a full-fledged explanation for everything that happens, as Unit 44 isn’t the kind of story that calls for deeper analysis, but additional answers would be welcomed.
Despite some of its weaker elements, issue #4 had delightful moments, particularly a scene between Gibson and Hatch that was both touching and comical. As previously stated, it is interactions like these between Gibson and Hatch that the comic is at its strongest and derives most of its comedic value. In terms of the art, Jiménez is consistently fantastic and never ceases to amaze me. Without his cartoony, animated series style, Unit 44 would not be as charming and upbeat as it is now. Locher and Jiménez make a great creative team.
Unit 44 #4 may not be my most favorite of the 4-issue miniseries, but it opens doors to the possibility of fruitful stories to come in the Unit 44 world. Locher and Jiménez have created a unique cast of characters to work with, and I cannot wait for what will be in store for the future. I welcome the return of Agent Gibson and Agent Hatch on their next big sci-fi adventure.
3.0 out of 5.0
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.