Strange Skies Over East Berlin #3 – Haunting Past
The Captured Spy
Strange Skies Over East Berlin #3 starts out with Herring, tied to a chair in the corner, being interrogated by Keiner. The Soviet officer knows who he is as he already spoke to the other people that Herring tried to help back at the wall. Herring tries all he can to deny this accusation as Keiner wants to know what his purpose is in there.
At the same time, Anzhela and other soldiers hunt down the alien. Some of them get killed, while others go mad, including Anzhela seeing visions of a burning city and her family dying. As Keiner continues to interrogate him, Herring once again sees the image of a woman from the first issue.
The Woman He Betrayed
As it turns out, the woman was someone the spy got close with in a past mission. The woman was a political activist in a never identified country. Getting close to her, Herring learned more of what she was fighting for and believed in. Once he had enough information, Herring would give it to the country’s leader that he helped put in charge and then leave soon after. As soon as he was out, soldiers would break into her home, grab her in the middle of the night, and never be seen again.
These memories start to break him as he questions who he really is and why he even does what he does. Herring asks Keiner whether he is also hearing voices in his head as Keiner has the same look of fear and sadness in his eyes.
All of a sudden, the alien breaks through the walls and attacks Keiner. Before going after Herring, the alien is shot in the head by Anzhela. As it goes after her, and keeps showing her visions, Anzhela grabs a flame thrower but is grabbed and killed. Still traumatized by the interrogation, visions, and the attack, Herring walks towards where the alien went as he asks himself who he is.
Who Do You Root For?
Strange Skies continues to add to its already atmospheric, moody, and depressing story. Jeff Loveness amps up the tension with his brilliant and often fear inducing writing.
What makes his writing so good is how he was able to make someone like Keiner and Anzhela, who we at first think are vile and villainous when introduced in the first issue, and make them a little likable and feel a bit for them because of the things they face. The slight opposite is ingeniously done with Herring, as we think he’s the likable hero with a thankless job and moral compass when we’re first introduced to him.
But then, we see how with his skills and expertise he has helped ruin the lives of so many people through deceiving and backstabbing them. You do believe the guilt he feels, but you never know if he wants to change or not.
Too Quick of a Pace
If there’s one flaw with the writing is that the events depicted happen too quickly. What I mean is that with this being the third issue, you wouldn’t have expected important characters like Keiner and Anzhela to be killed off this early or for much of Herring’s past to be shown. You’d at least expect both to happen somewhere around the eighth or tenth issue. Still, the writing continues to be fantastic and the artwork still has its unique and detailed style.
Even though much of its story is happening too quick, though that could just be me, Strange Skies Over East Berlin #3 is yet another chapter in this amazing story that delivers with its moody tone and well written characters.
You can pick up the latest Strange Skies at Amazon.