Throughout history there are set points when the realm of wyrms threatens to destroy time on Earth. If  no one is around to stop them, the wyrms will come through their portals and Earth’s time line will fall apart. What the world needs is The Order, a secret society dedicated to fighting them, but what’s left of their sacred group have hit retirement age, and the wyrms aren’t issuing rain checks for invasion.

    Anna Kohl’s father, Siegfried, was one of the Order’s members and he died believing in their cause but, for her, he’s the dad who abandoned his family. Stumbling upon his brothers in arms, it’s not long before Anna takes his spot in their fight. Starting with gender, she’s not an instant fit.

    There’s Iron John, who refuses to acknowledge aging or survivor’s guilt; Schmidt, inventor of weapons ahead of his time; and Blazen, who copes with perfect recall by self-medicating. Blazen’s familiar, Ergo, is visible to readers and Blazen alone. His friends think it’s the drugs talking, but maybe our seeing his bird makes him real.

    Some rough patches in the beginning extend from Anna being wishy washy. If she didn’t love her father she wouldn’t have gone out looking for answers, but there’s a song and dance of her denying interest in the Order’s activities. Warriors aren’t notorious for sharing feelings but this ping ponging, between curious and not curious, comes up a lot in early sections. as they deal with new discoveries. Maybe slowed down Anna’s reluctance would’ve made her appear guarded. Mostly, she comes off as childish with her false bravado. A growing kinship with Iron John adds well to both their narratives.

    Writer, Kek-W, astutely designs rules where Anna and cover knight, Ritterstahl, have longevity. Time machines protect main characters from aging but The Order has to exist over years. Anna inherited slow aging from her father but Ritterstahl is a robotic head. You never know what body might give host to his head next, and a character who has to roll with unreliability is endearing and a constant source of good drama. From rotting flesh providing quarters for metal intelligence, Kek-W keeps finding new ways to force Ritterstahl to adapt.

    The series values its internal history and fallen comrades from “The Order” aren’t forgotten but made homage to in the book’s second story, “The Court of the Wyrmqueen.” That recognition goes far in artist, John Burns’, painted pages—medieval tapestries of grass stain greens and toffee browns. Battles (and there are plenty) progressively build, with variations on wyrms, and time is devoted for solo moments amidst the larger team effort. The Order are old timers but there’s nothing old about the way they wield an ax.

    The Order: Die Mensch Maschine Available HERE

    Rachel Bellwoar
    Fueled by Coca Cola ICEEs, Rachel Bellwoar collects TV seasons, reads comics, and tries to put her enthusiasm into words. She also shares the same initials (and first name) as Emmy winner, Rachel Bloom. If that brings her one step closer to being a triceratops in a ballet (please watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), she'll take it. Contact: rachel.bellwoar@thatsnotcurrent.com

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