Decorum Issue 3: "And the re-education of deviants". Written by Johnathan Hickman, Art by Mike Huddleston.
I didn't think it would ever happen, but somehow, Decorum is starting to make sense. I know, I was shocked too. The inter-dimensional, time-hopping, reality-bending antics of the first two issues have relaxed a little, and something of a plot is beginning to emerge.
And I've got to say: The plot that we're getting is pretty solid.
My future wife Imogen, has taken Neha to learn the way of the Assassin!
We begin with a long journey, both through space and into the mind of Imogen. Neha still can't quite understand what she's doing here, or why Imogen would pick her. So, since they have time to kill, Imogen decides to explain exactly why she picked Neha, her outlook on the particular career she follows, and why she thinks Neha is so suited to taking it up.
It's a very interesting insight into her character, her views on murder, and indeed her outlook on life itself. It took all of two panels for me to fall for Imogen, back in Decorum Issue 1, and I must say everything we have seen from her, and learned about her in the time since has further that opinion. Definitely one of my favourite new characters in a very long time. The archetypal “Assassin with a Code”, given new life through a strange sense of wistful hopefulness. She's not the standard "no women, no children, but I'll happily murder everything else", gruff assassin we see so often. And I couldn't be happier to see that cliché fall by the wayside.
Eventually, we arrive at our destination; the Hub for all assassinations in the quadrant, Imogen's home away from home, and the coolest organisation with the WORST name, ever.
From there, Neha is introduced to some other members of the Sisterhood, and begins what can only be described as the strangest group interview the universe has ever seen.
We're introduced to the other new recruits "Ursula Ring" Freelancer and wannabe "greatest assassin in the universe". She has a goal, and she'll kill anyone to achieve it.
Next is Sam-Sam who looks like a jellyfish with crab pincers and speaks in bizarre symbols. Sam-sam creeps me out...
Lastly, there's Jetti Kaan, who has the head of a swan and will happily regale you with tales of the thousands she's murdered.
Needless to say, the Sister interviewing these hopefuls (who you may recognise from the cover of this issue, where she's seen punching some kind of alien) is fairly impressed, with their ability to shuffle their victims loose this mortal coil.
It probably also goes without saying that she is distinctly unimpressed with Neha Nori Sood:
In what is easily my favourite scene of the issue, and probably in the top 3 of the series altogether, Neha introduces herself, and lists her strengths. Which include the ability to eat spicy food, and a love of shorts. She'll wear trousers, but she prefers shorts.
Thankfully, it seems that despite not making the BEST first impressions, Neha is in!
Can't wait to see where this ends up...
Overall, issue 3 continues the trend set forth in the previous two episodes, of doing whatever the hell it wants to. Thankfully, it also continues the trend from the first two issues of being pretty damn brilliant. From the philosophical opening, learning more about propriety-obsessive Imogen, to Neha's hilariously anticlimactic introduction to the Sisterhood of Man, Decorum continues to surprise and entertain with its plot. And even though this episode may be far more grounded than the ones that proceeded it, that doesn't lessen any of the charm of this bizarre but intriguing tale. I have NO doubt, that the oddity of the previous issues will return, at some point, and will no doubt be all the more thrilling, once we have a solid grounding of this universe, from which to be thrown off.
And, even though I doubt it really needs to be said, I'll say it again, because I do so love repeating myself. Huddleston's artwork is in a league of its own. There are a handful of comics on the market right now that have genuinely brilliant artwork. But Decorum's artwork; the use of colour, bare line work, sweeping vistas, and starkly alien character designs, take it to new heights. All of this, combined with the brain-breaking writing, to bring you a truly unique work. One that stands out all the more in a world of CalArts and the increasing sameness of modern entertainment.
Now, to begin the painful wait for Decorum Issue 4... Send help.