A Comic a Day in May – Day 14: Defend Milford Green

Having already enjoyed the first & second parts of the Milford Green series from Samuel Gordon London, it was an easy choice to back the big finale on Kickstarter and even easier to jump into a complete re-read of the whole thing.

While this initially started as a one-shot it transformed into a slick series when Alfie & Marie moved on from just discovering aliens to then heading off into space to find more.  It’s already been a rollercoaster full of revelations but this third installment sees them return to Earth with grim news for Queen Victoria about the impending assault from the skies.  A stark new reality to face but one that sees the planet rally around and embrace a new dawn in technology that brings a new common goal – defend the entire planet starting with Milford Green.

There’s a suitably crucial twist in the tale though and they find themselves wrapped up in a different fight than they were expecting.  That fight sees them venture back into space to help their new alien friends but with sacrifices to be made and losses to be had the series continues to bring a sci-fi injected adventure with tons of heart & potential.  The relationship between those two leads are key to the success of this book and when the wider friendships are put to the test during war-time it still feels like every bit of connection and every bit of success & failure is a shared experience for everyone.  The threat from that interstellar force is a tangible one too, so the whole pacing & element of risk keeps things flowing along nicely to it’s finale.

Sam has done a cracking job in evolving that one-shot into the series it has become and while there are some interesting choices in this finale, it feels like a well paced  ending given its ability to retain hold of the heart it had from the beginning.  The technology evolution plays out a bit quick and matter of fact, but in the context of the story it fits well and while there are a few recognizable sci-fi elements thrown in off the back of that it still has a sense of a natural progression.  It lives or dies based on the caring between & for the characters though, which in the end is key to getting something out of this series and if you can commit yourself to going with the flow it’s a glorious journey given the initial plans as a one-off story.

The art from Mikael Hankonen packs the same energy into it as we saw from the beginning and it’s actually with the longer format of this issue we get to really soak in the detail & life he has in his characters.  Add to that the sense of scale in the battles and emotions captured in those faces and it’s hard to think of anyone more suited for this particular story.  The colours & lettering are then a crucial element to get right too and they all fit together like a glowing space-jigsaw of adventure.

The growth from both Sam & Mikael across the three parts of this story are evident both collectively & individually and it’s a stroke of luck that it coincides with the development of the story & characters associated with Milford Green.  Reading Sam’s afterword in this issue, you can sense the turmoil he’s gone through to get an ending he was happy with and while he acknowledges it’s a blend of different ideas, it ends up becoming a book that’s probably greater than the sum of it’s parts.  The galaxy of potential we saw in the first panel of the first issue has been channeled into the evolving world that’s been created but rather than settling for hitting the same levels with each issue, it feels like they’ve aimed higher with every page and ultimately delivered on the targets they set.  Perhaps this will miss some people’s expectations in the final act with the approach Sam has taken but for me, and I’m sure for most, it’s a series that I can read, enjoy & revisit with the same sense of excitement.

Check out the Signal Comics websiteFacebook & Twitter pages to keep up to date with this & their other titles and check out the Etsy store for the issues of Milford Green.  Keep tabs on those creators over on Twitter too:

Sam – @SamuelGLondon

Mikael – @MikaelHankonen

8/10

G-Man

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