Writer: Alex De Campi
Art: Carla Speed McNeil and Jenn Manley Lee
All About Travis
Travis and his companions finally reach their destination: a beach where Manish can hook up with Imogen. With Travis passed out in the back of the Jeep, the comic focuses on his companions’ beachside sexcapades. Eddie and a gay woman crack open some brewskies and talk about comics while the rest of the cohort pair up to smoke, dance, and sex the night away. Travis wakes the next morning. Feeling sick, he chugs a mystery drink and runs to the water to barf. There he finds a horrifying scene: his friends floating in the water dead–bleeding, deeply cut, and being picked open by seagulls. Terrified, Travis runs to the road and stops a car that takes him to safety.
Time passes and we learn that Travis has been located by the rescue team in the United States. A representative flies to retrieve him and the next day Travis boards a plane home. Still sick, hallucinations of the people Travis left behind glare at him as he walks to his seat. He is knocked out of his hallucination by a punch in the face from Gina, ending the issue.
#13 is one of the more complex issues of “No Mercy” and requires a lot of guesswork. While I’ve summarized what I think occurs in the issue, so much relies on artwork that it’s difficult to interpret the events with any certainty. Much of this is due to Travis’s status as an unreliable narrator (but more on that later).
One question we need to ask is, what made Travis sick, and just how sick is he? Will he survive the flight home? Given this comic’s track record we really have no idea. What we do know is that he’s on a direct flight from South America to Miami and his sickness is getting worse–so if he does survive it won’t be without struggle. Another important question is, how badly is Travis hallucinating when he sees his classmates on the plane? Artist Carla Speed McNeil uses wobbly lines and dull colors in the frames where Travis sees his peers (contrast this to the frames with Gina, who is very bright and very real). In a comic that is otherwise vibrant and full of color, we’re forced to assume that Travis is so sick that we can’t fully trust his senses. However, this doesn’t mean that Travis’s senses are completely wrong. Is it possible that anyone he sees is actually there? Reuniting the characters would be a great way to prep “No Mercy” for further disaster. If more than just Travis and Gina are on the plane, what horrors will the plane ride hold?
Speaking of horrors, I really appreciate the return to morbidity in this issue. “No Mercy” is one of the few comics that strikes a balance between horror and cheer, making it uniquely engaging. Let’s give a huge shoutout to Carla Speed McNeil for her part in this. “No Mercy” would have been very different comic had the artwork taken a different style. I also enjoyed the shoutout to Image Comics in this issue, which was fun to read. My biggest gripe with this issue is that, again, the issue is devoted to a very small subset of characters. I would love to see the cast reunited. As always, I’m excited to see how this story unfolds.
K Spasaro | NCR