Explore A Sprawling Empire Of Illusion In Relay #3

by Brendan M. Allen

In the future, the galaxy is united under a monolith known as the Galactic Relay. Although the towering monument is meant to inspire conformity of ideas, technology, and progress, it is not without its enemies and many have begun to resent the foreign structure. And now, Jad Carter, a Relay employee, has found the Relay’s mythological creator.

An interstellar mug causes a complete breakdown of reality. Jad travels inside the Monolith but it raises more questions than answers.

As I stated in my review of Relay #2, this is a really hard series not to spoil, and it keeps getting harder. By the end of the last chapter, it should have been pretty clear something isn’t right. The opening sequences of Relay #3 confirm there’s more going on than was readily apparent. Donaldson’s odd behaviour and rejection of the movement he founded weren’t necessarily deal breakers, but there is that one other thing that really sort of destroys any credibility the messianic figure would have had.

Zac Thompson is using some incredibly nuanced exposition to allow the reader to catch up at the same rate as the principals. We’re inside Jad’s head as he’s working this mess out. There’s absolutely no way anyone would have caught the element that reveals “Donaldson’s” deception, but upon review, the detail that gives it away is present, right from the start. I went back and checked. You will, too.

Andy Clarke and Jose Villarrubia really get to open this thing up and play with the laws of reality inside the Monolith. The interior of the mysterious structure resembles the second level of the derelict Origin on LV-426. There’s definitely a Geiger-esque organic feel, but we also get impossible physics and mind-bending surrealism.

Relay is one of those series that completely turns itself inside out with each new installment. There are a lot of multifaceted themes at play, but it’s a shockingly easy investment.

Relay #3, published by AfterShock Comics, released 05 September 2018. Written by Zac Thompson, art by Andy Clarke, story by Zac Thompson, Eric Bromberg, & Donny Cates, color by Jose Villarrubia, letters by Charles Pritchett, cover by Andy Clarke/Dan Brown, logo by John J. Hill.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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