It’s difficult to write a hospital drama that doesn’t feel familiar – even when the patients are otherworldly creatures. But with stellar artwork, this series is able to differentiate itself from a lot of what else is out there.
Nothing like a cave-in to force a little exposition. That’s the situation in The Ward’s third installment, as protagonist Natalie Reeves and a fellow doctor are trapped in an extradimensional warp that causes a building to collapse on top of them. While there, the two are able to bond. Sort of.
Reeves and her colleague Luis Cervantes have a strained relationship. She has accused him of stealing drugs from the hospital where they both work. When the emergency call they are on goes sideways, the trapped pair have a chance to give each other some of their back stories.
For Reeves, that helps to explain why she left St. Lilith’s Hospital in the first place. It turns out that preternatural patients these doctors treat aren’t always so welcoming of humans. After the incident, Reeves left the hospital – only to return in he first issue. That is causing a difficult work-life balance as she’s a single mom trying to raise a young son.
If the script from Cavan Scott feels a bit cliched, blame the genre. With decades of stories from Grey’s Anatomy, ER and Chicago Med, it’s tough to come up with something new. Yes, the supernatural creatures help, but at the end of the day, all drama is human drama.
Fortunately, the artwork is a bit more out of the box – even if it is Pandora’s box. Artist Andres Ponce again gets to show off his talents by depicting supernatural and magical characters, from a troll to nogs to a ghostly doctor. His work on the extra-dimensional rift and the collapsed building are highlights of the issue. Ponce is consistently delivering with each issue. If this series doesn’t get him a bigger gig on a mainstream title, there’s no justice in the world.
A B-story in this issue is setting up a citywide epidemic for the future. After a global pandemic, we’ll see whether readers are tired of such things or in need of a diversion.
The Ward #3 will be available for purchase on August 10, 2022.