Review: COLONEL WEIRD: COSMAGOG #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Tyler Crook
Colours: Tyler Crook
Letters: Tyler Crook
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3: Forced by cosmic powers to watch eternity unfold simultaneously, a dazed Colonel Weird wanders dazed through the counter-culture movement of the ’60s, his own origins, and a murder investigation, struggling to find a way out of the pattern.
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3 continues Jeff Lemire’s solo story of Randall Weird, one of the heroes from his main Black Hammer series. This story can be difficult to follow, as Weird does is not experiencing his life in a non-linear fashion. In a strange way, Cosmagog is both a sequel and a prequel to Black Hammer, as Randall Weird jumps back and forth through various time periods.
A lot of Lemire’s Black Hammer characters are pastiches of one or more classic comics characters. Randall Weird is partially patterned after Adam Strange and the his ties to the Para-Zone bring to mind Shade the Changing Man and the Madness Zone. But Weird’s non-linear perspective of events is very similar to that of Dr. Manhattan from Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
The main difference is that their non-linear experience of time has affected each differently. Manhattan has become somewhat detached from his own humanity and the rest of humankind. However, this experience seems to have taken a toll on Weird’s sanity.
It occurs to me that the main thrust of this story is Weird’s quest to rebuild his fractured psyche. He explains, “I have seen everything. I know everything that will happen… Yet I–I have forgotten something important and I can’t find it”. Whatever he has lost may be the key to recovering his sanity.
In Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3, Weird speaks of a pattern: “A great pattern of everything that ever happened and that ever will happen”. It also appears that this pattern is cyclical – or at least that Weird is experiencing it in a cyclical fashion. We see Weird taking care to ensure that events unfold in the way he remembers them happening. For example, he instructs Abraham Slam to gather Golden Gail and Barbalien to help fight Anti-God – just as we know they did in the events leading directly into the main Black Hammer series.
He tells Abraham, “As much as I wish I could change everything–I must ensure the pattern remains”. It’s not just that he’s unable to effect change, but he has to take actively re-enact the events as he remembers them. In fact, the story ends with him drawing the star-chart that led him to the Para-Zone in the first place.
It’s hard to see where the story is heading, but that isn’t necessarily a drawback, as long as Lemire can bring it all together in the final chapter. I have faith in Lemire’s ability to do so. And the non-linear nature of the story actually makes reading the story rather unique experience.
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3 is a another fun chapter in Lemire’s offbeat story of the titular cosmic adventurer. This series is well worth checking out if you’re a fan of Lemire’s Black Hammer series, as it adds an extra dimension to that story. But it’s also enjoyable in it’s own right as a tribute to classic science fiction comics.