It’s kinda funny - Renato Jones: Freelancer #3 has both a lot to unpack in terms of story progression, and yet it reads EXTREMELY quickly. It’s a dichotomy like that that really makes for an enjoyable issue.
We pick up where we left off from the last issue, with Carmen flipping out after recognizing Renato WAAAAY back from issue one of Renato Jones: the One%. Things get harried quickly as the reader gets thrust back to Bliss dealing with the return of Douglas “Dude” Bradley, rendered with monstrous intensity by Andrews. Also, I love straight up comic styling like Bradley’s shadow on the carpet, with yellow eyes and monster teeth – I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Kaare Andrews uses the medium of comics perfectly, from his panel layouts to his old-school comic images.
After that scene we’re immediately placed into President Nicola’s office in a scene that rings far too close to home: the newscasts in the background, layered and paneled like a Frank Miller page, have talking heads spouting diatribes that could be ripped directly from our headlines. It’s quite unsettling and quite ominous.
Renato and Church then get some intense time together, with a tremendous black-and-white scene sandwiched in between. It’s great to finally get some development for Church, focusing on his borderline psychotic intensity towards annihilating the ONEs, as well as seeing how Carmen and her mother tie directly into Renato’s life.
And then…we get the full-speed-ahead ending, with a sequence of splash pages that left me with my mouth agape. I won’t even hint at what happens because you REALLY need to experience the batshit ending for yourself.
Like I said, this issue reads incredibly quickly, but that’s pretty par for the course at this point; Andrews spins this tale at a breakneck pace, keeping the tension high and establishing a palpable sense of time running out. He shines in his splashes, he excels in his frenetic action, and he does things with the medium of sequential art that only a few other artists can successfully pull off. This is a bold book in a difficult time, giving a lot of us the catharsis we so desperately need.