Analog Issues 6 & 7: A Series Restart For A Bewildering Second Arc

by Richard Bruton

Through the first five issues of this high-concept near-future sci-fi series, Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan produced a fine comic full of sharp dialogue and even sharper ideas. Now, it’s time to catch up with issues 6 & 7, as things move onwards, but don’t expect this series to hold your hand… Analog just hasn’t got time to look back as things kick-off. Expect swears, violence, and complications in a world where the only way to keep something secret is to keep it analog…

Yes, it all rather drops you straight back into things here and, given that it’s been almost a year since issue 5, I was a bit lost for a while. This really isn’t something you can just dive into, and I think it’s a real mistake to do things this way if you are going to do your ongoing series as a set of story-arcs. Look at DIE issue 6 to see how it should be done, as just a simple recap page does wonders for keeping the existing readers onboard and making it accessible for new readers.
Basically, the world here is one of a post-apocalyptic comms disaster, following the ‘Great Doxxing’, when the online went full public and no secret was safe unless it was delivered old-school, by hand, meaning the real dangerous secret stuff needed dangerous people to deliver them. And Jack McGinnis is one of them…

I’m the world’s safest way to move information. Safe for your secrets. Not for me. My name is Jack McGinnis, and I’m a Ledger Man.

Jack’s not only a ledger man though, he’s also deeply involved with the Doxxing event and has an important role to play. But, as I say, that’s not something you’ll be reminded of in these new issues. And it’s definitely a mistake.
Instead, we’re straight into things, with Jack, his partner in all things Oona, and his dad, turning up in Sam’s offices, talking about Oppenheimer…

See what I mean? You try and work out what’s going on just from issue 6.
Across issues 6 and 7, Jack, Oona, Jack’s Dad, and Sam go off on their missions. There is swearing, there is a nice dash of laughs in the dialogue, and a good bit of nasty violence… just like this…

But, unlike what we had in those first five issues, although there’s story progression, it comes as big exposition dumps that don’t work as well as things have worked in Analog in the past.
So, whilst Jack goes to Miami and gets beaten up again, we get to go with Sam and Oona to Washington and do a walk and talk where they find out what’s going on with Oppenheimer, how his plans connect to AI and plans to bring back Internet and secure comms to the world…

Frankly, things only really start to get interesting again towards the end of issue 7, where Jack gets a mysterious tape from something you’d remember from the first storey-arc and the story is booted into a higher gear, with lines drawn and direction set. Like I said at the time, reviewing issue 4, ‘I can’t help thinking this is going to come back as something important later on in the series‘… and it seems it’s going to play a big, big part in future issues.

Duggan and O’Sullivan’s Analog was a cracking series in its first arc, and I wholeheartedly believe it can be again, but these first two issues of the second arc don’t really kick into gear until the latter part of issue 7, way too late.
I’m too invested in it to give up now, but I can’t casual readers coming on with these issues and worse, I can see existing readers dropping off what is a damn fine series, all because of a couple of slow issues, a misjudged restart. Fingers crossed that issue 8 picks things up and we’re back to the full-out fun sci-fi thriller with lashings of great details and action comedy that I loved.
Analog issues 6 and 7 by Gerry Duggan (writer), David O’Sullivan (artist), Mike Spicer (colors), Joe Sabino (letters), is published by Image Comics.

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