The Tribunal is coming to a conclusion. Through bloody battles, clever banter, and unforeseen twists, the final fight is upon us. Who will come out on top? Will Hellfighter Quin and his Glass Assassin win the prize of the Azure Sun? Perhaps Shard’s Sensei DeadEye will carry the day. What about the Queen and her former Invictus? So many questions and just one final chapter to answer them. So are you ready? Time to invoke all the upcoming battle cliches. “Let’s get ready to rumble! (Copyright, Michael Buffer). FIGHT! (Mortal Kombat) Are you ready? Are YOU ready?? Let’s get it on!! (UFC’s John McCarthy via Boxing’s Mills Lane). You get the idea. There’s a fight coming…
100 Hundred Years Ago
When we last left the Hellfighter, he had agreed to join the Queen’s clan in order to retain his place in the tournament. At least, that is what it appeared. He seemed to have other plans. But you can’t bring those plans to fruition if you’re not in the game. And speaking of the game, how did the Queen’s clan originally get control of the Azure Sun. As we join the final chapter, it is revealed what happened 100 years ago to answer that question. As it turns out, the Queen believed in that age old strategy of its easy to win a competition if you eliminate all your rivals. How wonderfully devious, and unscrupulous. How evil Queen like.
The question of Power
Back in the present, Deadeye questions why Quin would agree to abandon the “clan less.” Why would he forsake HIS people? Quin assures Shard’s Sensei that he has not. He just did what he had to do to continue in the Tribunal. It is still his goal to gain the Azure Sun for HIS people, the Clan-less. All he has ever wanted to do was to put them on equal footing with the other clans. However, during the tournament, he had learned what many heroes have learned. And while it may be cliche, it is often true. “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.“ So instead, he wants to share the power with all the clans. For her part, Shard questions if that is even possible. Deadeye reminds her that it matters not for she is no longer part of the tournament. Quin begs to defer but then asks him if he could sneak her into the final venue. Shard insists her trust in Quin and asks her Sensei to do the same.
An Unexpected Guest
Which will be fine, except that her Sensei is his final opponent. The Queen reminds Quin of his recent pledge of allegiance (no, not THAT pledge) to her Clan. She must think he has short term memory loss. It just happened last issue. C’mon Queenie, give the man more credit than that. So after Quin and Hawkeye …darn it…I mean Deadeye…I was close, their both archers. (If they WERE related might they have another sibling named Pinkeye?🤔) But I digress…
After both men acknowledged this new state of affairs, they are sent to the Halls of the Insidium, where the final confrontation will take place. Upon his appearance, Quin calls out to see if Shard had indeed found a way inside. But instead of Shard, he finds another person waiting for him. But who? Is it the DoomSeer?
The Truth about Tyrell’s Fate
As he draws near he finds not the Doomseer but Tyrell, the young man who died while taking Quinn’s place in the Tribunal in Issue #1. See what you missed if you haven’t been onboard since the beginning? For Quin, it is a painful memory of a life snuffed out too early, doing what HE should have done. He expresses his regret at not getting back in time. Had he only realized what Tyrell had done sooner. But the question remained…Why had Tyrell taken his mask? For what reason had he thought to assume the Hellfighter’s identity in the Tribunal?
Tyrell explained that he did so at the Queen’s bequest. She told him that Quin did not accept his invitation to the tournament. He had chosen to let the clan-less suffer, rather than to take part. It was only by Tyrell taking Quinn’s place that Quin would be forced into action. Queen Agatha had foreseen it. The prophecy was written that Quin would join the Queen’s clan and win the Azure Sun. As Biff Tannen would tell you, it’s easy to win if you already know the scores.
The Truth Revealed
Quin was taken aback by this revelation. The whole thing was a preconceived plot, that had been predicted in advance. Before he could rationalize all he had heard, Shard entered the Insidium, telling Quin that things were not as they seem. She immediately attacked Tyrell, pushing him back with “Flaming Suriken’s.” (Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached the Street Fighter part of our program). Under her assault, it is revealed that the vision that appeared to be Tyrell was in actuality Queen Agatha.
Quin looked on in shock. The whole thing was a lie? Tyrell?? All of it?? On the contrary, the Queen revealed, it was all true. She had indeed used Tyrell to get Quin into the Tribunal. And she had truthfully seen that Quin would be victorious. Knowing that, it was imperative that he join her Clan so she would remain in control of the Azure Sun. It was the only way to protect all from the DoomSeer. Quin considered her for but a moment but felt otherwise. He had reached one conclusion from her tale…she had sacrificed Tyrell. He immediately introduced her jaw to the Hellfighter.
The Battle Commences
While temporarily stunned, Agatha once again reminded him she did what was necessary to protect against the DoomSeer. But as she made this proclamation, her former Invictus came through the wall, protesting her lies. He had heard the truth from the warriors who had died there. The Queen WAS the DoomSeer! (If you read book #4 you knew this already.) Agatha realized quickly that “the cat was out of the bag.” (Makes you wonder who put the cat in the bag to begin with?).
She attacked Quin and Shard with her powers, slowly bringing the building down upon them. As she increased her attack, she went into her contractually obligated villain’s monologue of why she did what she did. (See The Incredibles for further information). As she proclaimed their doom, Deadeye appeared and rained arrows down upon the Queen/DoomSeer. While she was distracted, the Hellfighter decided to take advantage by bringing the rest of the roof crashing down with the force of his blow. The Queen was buried under the rubble but so was Deadeye. Shard found her mortally wounded Sensei. He expressed his pride in his Glass Assassin as he passed. As for the Queen, Quin found her as well. Without the full power of the Azure Sun, her true age was revealed. Apparently, Azure Sun cosmetic products work miracles. She expressed her guilt for letting the Sun take over her actions. Once, she looked after the weak, just as Quin does. She made him promise to lead the clans. To be better than her as she too expired.
In time, peace once again returned to the clans. During the battle, the Azure Sun had been split into five separate pieces. Quin decided to give a piece to each Clan. Now they all had a part of the power. And while that meant that more super powered beings would manifest in the clans, it was still a better solution than only one clan having ALL the power. There is still the issue of the missing Evictus, (Freudian slip…it’s INVictus. But hey, he did take a powder…in a sense, he EVICTED himself) but that is for another time.
As for Shard, she constructed a glass statue to commemorate her fallen Sensei. While she knew he might not approve, she knew that such memorials were more for those left behind. Quin asked her if she would be returning to her Clan. She thought for a moment and said only if she didn’t have a good reason to stay. Quin supplied that reason with a kiss. Either that or he was trying to resuscitate her from some unknown breathing distress. But such things are never left undisturbed as a call for help is heard. Quin and Shard spring into action as THIS chapter comes to a close.
When coming to the end of series, there are usually some important things to accomplish. First and foremost is tying up any loose plot points that have been established since the first issue. Second is leaving room for future stories if the series is well received. In this manner, Jay Sandlin accomplishes both. He explains the reasons for the events that transpired, including a few twists that were included, as well as opening a door for the future. In this case, the missing Invictus means that a possible antagonist is left on the playing field. In addition, the mention of the possibility of future powered clan members gives options of either friends or foe.
Another part of a successful short series is consistency. Story, Art, Color, Lettering and Cover Work need to maintain a consistency of quality throughout the short run. In the matter of Quin Hellfighter, this was established in Issue One and carried through to the end. Artist Atagun Ilhan, Colorist Maria Santaolalla along with letterer Justin Birch created a work full of energy, vibrant color and consistent excellence that combined nicely with Sandlin’s battle filled story to its ultimate conclusion…thus far.
Have you followed the saga of Quin Hellfighter to the end? If so, how did you feel about the resolution? Did you feel any sympathy for the Queen? Is this story dying for another chapter? Share your opinions with us at Geek Vibes Nation.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.