4 out of 5
The title and cover, suggesting a coming battle, are a tad misleading: the image does take place in the issue, and there is a fight, but volume 3 of Ian is more transitional than anything: after the violence enacted in the previous book, Ian is out of sorts, first wishing to end his own life – if possible – and then realizing there’s more going on than just his own impulsivity. It’s then a matter of determining what he should do with that knowledge, and Vehlmann, showing his usual brilliance with quick moving, but logical, plotting, throws a Big Bad at Ian, has him taking on the government, has him experience a seemingly upbeat conclusion… and then strips it all away on the last page. Ralph Meyer is, as ever, up to the task of both action and drama, bringing weight to the opening pages, with Ian at his lowest, and then also able to deliver the thrills during fights and scuffles. Book Three is very focused on Ian, which is nice, although it does seem like Vehlmann could have spent another issue or so building up the tensions which come and go between the covers.