Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Mike Huddleston
Publisher: Image Comics
Age Rating: M
Original Release Date: Dec 16, 2020
Decorum issue #6: “And the One Job You Really Need,” from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Mike Huddleston, merges the storyline of Imogen Smith-Morely and Neha Nori Sood with that of the Celestial Mothers in a huge and totally unexpected way. For five issues I’ve wondered how the two arcs were going to influence each other. This issue begins to address that. These developments result in a new mission that causes Imogen and Neha to separate, and Neha does not appear to be safe on her own. Huddleston’s illustrations are so consistently great while being bold and innovative it’d almost be easy to take the art for granted. Just like clever and compelling writing, beautiful art is an integral part of what makes Decorum. Issue #6 is the very epitome of this.
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Issue #6 of Decorum starts with Ro Chi, the leader of the Church of the Singularity asking the entity he reports to to free Ro Chi from the burden of expectation and to give him the comfort of oblivion. Echoing the disheartenment of the Celestial Mothers in issue #4, Ro Chi feels that he has failed to deliver the Mothers’ egg so many times that it’s pointless to continue. The entity considers that maybe Ro Chi has been given the wrong task. Maybe Ro Chi’s purpose is to find the people capable of capturing the egg.
In the very next page Ro Chi and the Church of the Singularity’s colossal spaceship show up on the doorstep of the Sisterhood of Man. What’s more, is that they commission the Sisterhood to capture the egg. If the egg is already hatched the entity the Church refers to as a god, and the Celestial Mothers revere as a messiah, is to be killed.
Contract negotiation is straightforward. Ro Chi offers a planet composed entirely of diamond. Sister Ma enthusiastically accepts. The diamond planet sounds a lot like Bidur Faul from issue #4. Bidur Faul was a rocky planet inhabited by a utopian society. After the Church of the Singularity attacked the Ship of the Celestial Mothers on Bidur Faul, the planet was left a desolate and uninhabitable wasteworld.
The entire Sisterhood of Man is activated to hunt for the egg. It’s decided that the Sisterhood should split up. Each sister should search independently to cover the most ground collectively. It is for this reason Imogen and Neha separate, leaving Neha alone for the first time since being recruited into the assassin lifestyle. In the final scene of the issue, after a visit with her family, we see Neha navigating her city of origin being tailed by Jev, former henchman for Luca D’Luca Dann rendered masterless by Neha’s recent assassination of Luca.
The storytelling in issue #6 of Decorum is stellar but I would be negligent to not mention the artwork of Mike Huddleston which is equally foundational to the success of Decorum. The design of Ro Chi, the Church of the Singularity and the Church’s technology has been impeccable since the beginning. In this issue the way the Church’s arrival to the Sisterhood of Man is illustrated is especially dramatic and appropriately awe inducing.
The scene where Imogen breaks the news to Neha that they will be parting ways is particularly effective. Imogen is portrayed as glamorous and charismatic amongst the deadly stockpile of high caliber artillery she’s packing for the mission. The exquisitely subdued color scheme reflects the bittersweet moment between master and student and two women who seem to genuinely care for each other despite their profession.
I’m really impressed by how legitimately shocked I was at the developments within Decorum issue #6. Previous issues of Decorum have been so good at using the secondary story to hint at the larger story’s huge galactic scope while not revealing how the protagonists fit into that larger story. The intersection of the main plot and subplot were handled so well. It’s surprising, exciting and satisfying all at the same time.
Issue #6 of Decorum makes big moves. The Church of the Singularity enlisting the Sisterhood of Man in the hunt for the Celestial Mothers and their egg seems like a critical point in the story from which many more narrative developments will flow. The same can be said of the parting of Imogen and Neha. I’m thoroughly invested in these characters and wonder what will happen to them now that they have parted ways. How will Neha handle Jev alone? Decorum is the most satisfying read I’ve had in a long time. Issue #6 was great. I can’t wait to get my hands on issue #7.