Review: Penultiman #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom Peyer
Artist: Alan Robinson
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Rob Steen
Reviewer: Tony Farina
Penultiman seeks a way out of his emotional spiral by reading a self-help book about positivity, then starts acting like a jerk in public. His android understudy, Antepenultiman, ruins Penultiman’s secret identity. Plus the usual AHOY extra prose stories and illustrations!
Penultiman #3 is, in a word, spectacular. Good night everyone. No…Wait… Come back.
There is a moment in this issue where Penultiman reads a book called Positivity Power: Stop hating yourself in 7 days. Reading that title made me laugh out loud and then immediately start to tear up (that is tear up as in get emotional not tear up as in I ripped up the book. Why is English so stupid?). I mean, that book title is absurd, but it is also so telling. Penultiman really does hate himself. He has been shunned and the android version of himself is somehow better than he is. What a kick in the teeth right? It is both hysterical and heartbreaking. I simply love it.
Of course, not to be outdone by Peyer’s genius wordsmithing, Alan Robinson’s artwork conveys all the pain, angst and all around misery in just a few strokes of his pen. The face work on Penultiman in this issue is special. Normally, we get to the middle of a mini-series and the team takes a month off and phones it in a bit. Not here. Not ever. Also, shout out to Rob Steen on his letters. There is a lot to say in these issues and at no point do we ever feel overwhelmed by it. Steen gets the words on the page in such a way that we almost hear them. Excellent work sir!
Penultiman #3 simply has no flaws. I mean, Penultiman himself is riddled with flaws, but this book simply does not have any.
Penultiman #3 forces one to spend a lot of time thinking about one’s self and why we are who we are. Is there a fictional version of ourselves out there in cyberspace that is actually better than us? I mean, we all have online personas that we hide behind. What would happen if that idea of you took shape and took over? Would you be able to even compare to that “person?” Would you want to? So much to think about.