Jericho Season 3 - Civil Wars: Issue #4
Synopsis (SPOILER ALERT): This issue gives us the backstory for John Smith, the man who masterminded the terrorist attacks on the United States. Smith is being held in the maximum security prison known as Loomer Ridge, and as Jake and Hawkins break in to free him, we get flashbacks to Smith’s past. The issue begins with a woman from the prison interrogating Smith and using various psychological tricks to throw him off balance. It does not work, though, because he informs her that she is using the manual he wrote. As the interrogation progresses, an alarm goes off as Jake and Hawkins break into the prison and Smith knows they are coming. We then flash back to five years previous as J&R gives a presentation to Senator Tomarchio and Director Valente showing how they can step in and help out the U.S. Military which is currently “stretched too thin”. The company gets the contract with the government, but Smith is concerned because he says that J&R is growing too fast and many of the new recruits have criminal records. He is assured that this will not be a problem, then he is sent to the J&R compound in Afghanistan to monitor things there. However, his worst fears are confirmed and he grounds a platoon of J&R operatives almost right away because he believes they are out of control. The mercenaries turn on him, though, angered for being sidelined, and they kill his wife and injure him. As he recovers, the doctor tells him that he has cancer which vastly changes his perspective on life. He starts to see that J&R is a cancer itself eating away at the United States and must be stopped. He returns to the States and starts to collect information on nuclear bunkers and materials for building warheads that J&R had been previously involved with illegally. He then contacts fringe groups who want to lash out at the United States and sets the stage for the terrorist attacks which he hopes would shake up the country’s foundation and basically allow it to cleanse itself of the cancer. However, deep inside he believes that J&R will uncover his plot and stop him which would ultimately implicate them for their own misdeeds. They do uncover his plans, but chose not to reveal them because it would destroy the company and possibly result in its executives going to jail. Smith then decides he has to go forward with this “wake up call” and moves up the timetable so that J&R will not have a chance to interfere. And from that, the nuclear detonations occur which tear up the nation and set the stage for where the story began with the first episode of the Jericho TV series. This issue ends as Jake and Hawkins make their way through the chaos in the prison after many other prisoners have escaped and caused a grand commotion (see the previous issue). They arrive at the interrogation room (returning us to the same point that issue three ended on) and take Smith with them hoping to avert the larger war brewing across the fractured country.
Comments: The comic book series has been excellent so far, and fortunately this latest issue continues the momentum from the first three (despite the extended delay). It focuses almost entirely on the mysterious John Smith character and gives us his backstory and finally a more comprehensive look at what brought about the attacks on the United States. It also casts an almost sympathetic light on Smith, so you can call it the “Company Man” episode of the Jericho series (referring to the episode from Heroes Season 1 that gave us the backstory on Noah Bennet, aka HRG). Long-time Jericho fans, especially those who waited so patiently for this issue, may be disappointed that it gives us only the briefest appearances of the two main characters and did not check in on the people back in the town of Jericho at all. But that can be overlooked because this issue did so much to answer questions that have been lingering for quite some time. The writers promised answers in this series and they have definitely delivered on that so far with four excellent issues in a row. Now let’s hope that they do not expend all of their creative energy too soon, because I would definitely like this story to continue beyond this six issue mini.