In Rucka’s latest (The Last Run, 2010, etc.), the sneak attack on WilsonVille—world’s largest theme park—is no Mickey Mouse operation.
Master Sgt. Jad Bell, Delta Forces veteran, senses something catastrophic blowing in the wind and meant for WilsonVille. Of course he does. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been deployed there. Still, he doesn’t know precisely where or exactly when, and his bosses tell him they don’t either. Normally, he’d take that in stride, since it’s really what his 18 years of training has always been about—uncertainty and the coping with it, no matter its shape or time of arrival. The circumstance that makes this different and unsettling, however, is a piece of information just received. Jad, undercover as deputy director in charge of park security, has suddenly learned that among the 60,000 likely visitors this coming Friday will be a contingent from the Hollyoakes School for the Deaf, a group that will include his adored daughter Athena as well as his ex-wife Amy. Switch now to young Gabriel Fuller, terrorist. Actually, he’s a terrorist in training and has been for more than 10 years, a period during which he was charged with becoming seamlessly American. In the jargon of the trade, Gabriel is a sleeper—someone planted early on in a position to infiltrate, then later awakened for the sake of the mission: Inflict maximum damage from the inside. In that way, Gabriel has made himself a WilsonVille mainstay. Costumed as Pooch—feckless, endearingly clumsy, endlessly affectionate—he captures hearts and minds on a regular basis. The carefully planned attack is mounted, and hostages are taken, among them, inevitably, Jad’s Athena. But Gabriel, too, has some nasty shocks awaiting him.
Sometime-graphic-novelist Rucka again crosses genres with positive results. Not much new here, but energetically done and not a comic strip character in sight.