Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb's "The Midas Flesh" #7 is the action packed and emotionally resonant penultimate issue of their engaging series. The stakes at the outset of this issue are dire, and yet in a fine bit of storytelling, the stakes for our heroes and the world are even more desperate than where they began.
North has taken an incredibly tricky concept -- one of a weapon (the Midas Flesh) that has a power so intense and far reaching that it's difficult to calculate -- and crafted an absolutely engaging and heart-stopping mini-series. Though this series was strong right out of the gate, it was hard not to be skeptical that the team could continue to deliver with such a complicated weapon at its heart, but deliver they have. This issue, heading into the finale, has some of the highest stakes yet. At the same time, though plot is center stage, North never loses sight of his characters who are all charming, lovable, and desperately heroic. North gets in just enough jokes and pathos amid the chaotic action (and science!) to emphasize why readers care so much about these characters.
The art by Paroline and Lamb is somehow adorable while still remaining effortlessly true to the high stakes space adventure tone. The cartooning is clean and crisp, with an emphasis on excellent character acting and smooth functional storytelling. There are a couple moments in this issue where the more cartoonish style isn't the best at conveying the action -- a scene in which the heroes divert Midas's head toward a dead planet instead of having it fall into the sun is hard to understand visually. For the most part however, the visuals are easy to follow and emotionally resonant. The scene where the general plummets toward the sun with Midas's head is particularly awe-inspiring, especially when it comes to the color work.
All in all, this has been a fantastic and unexpected pleasure of a mini-series. "The Midas Flesh" is all-ages appropriate, gorgeously illustrated, whip-smart, and emotionally engaging, qualities too few comics even aspire to, let alone succeed in delivering.