Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Mike Huddleston
Publisher: Image Comics
Age Rating: M
Release Date: Mar 31, 2021
Issue #7 of Decorum, “And the Egg That Broke a World,” from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Mike Huddleston, continues the story of Neha Nori Sood, a courier turned assassin’s apprentice, her mentor Imogen Smith-Morely and the religious conflict between the the Church of the Singularity and the Celestial Mothers. There was a huge development in issue #6 as the Church showed up on the doorstep of the Sisterhood of Man, the elite order of assassins both Neha and Imogen belong to. The entire sisterhood was conscripted to find the Celestial Mothers and retrieve the egg the Mothers are protecting.
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In issue #7 the Sisterhood’s analysis uncovers a flaw in the Church of the Singularity’s previous search attempts. New data gives the Sisterhood of Man an edge that the Church of the Singularity did not have in their 100,000 year long search. Back on her homeworld, the ocean planet Dealdus, Neha serendipitously makes a huge discovery. Neha’s actions in this issue put the Sisterhood in hot water with the Church. Jev, the henchman figuratively orphaned by Neha’s assassination of Luca D’Luca Dann in issue #5, shows himself to have more intestinal fortitude than I would have expected.
The entire Sisterhood of Man gets two orders this issue. Acting on new intel, Sister Ma pulls the trigger on the mission to find the egg. Upon receiving the order Neha gets pushed by a runaway purse snatcher, stumbles into the street, gets hit by a car, gets knocked into an alley and falls through the pavement to the ocean below the city where she catches a glimpse of the Ship of the Celestial Mothers. It’s evidently been hiding in Neha’s hometown on her home planet this entire time. She finds her way out of the water and searches for a way to access the pyramidal ship via dry land. Once she locates the ship Neha cuts her way in. She then proceeds to free the creature in the egg from its shell. She doesn’t kill him as she’s supposed to. She doesn’t contact the sisterhood. She instead gets him a disguise and takes him to a sleazy hotel.
Jev brazenly flies to a Church outpost. Apparently while tailing Neha he’s been monitoring the Sisterhood of Man’s communications. He knows of the mission to capture the egg. He knows of Neha’s betrayal. He tells the Church of the Singularity everything. After a tense conversation between Ro Chi and Sister Ma, Neha is declared a target of the Sisterhood. The mission is to bring in both Neha and the egg creature dead. In retribution for Neha’s betrayal the Church of the Singularity raises the stakes of the contract. If the Sisterhood fails to kill Neha and the egg creature the Church will kill the entire Sisterhood of Man. We see Imogen receive the new mission but we do not get to see her reaction to the mission to kill Neha. I guess we’ll have to wait until issue #8 to see how Imogen will respond.
I always look forward to Decorum’s art. Like every issue before it, Mike Huddleston’s illustrations in issue #7 are so well conceived and executed. The scene where Sister Ma is conferring with the Sisterhood’s analysts, and the analysts happen to be giant cybernetic mermaids, is spectacular. The pages are so painterly yet the color scheme still evokes a feeling of technological advancement.
The pages in which Ro Chi, and later Jev, commune with the entity in charge of the Church of the Singularity are particularly fun to look at. Throughout the series Huddleston has been using a retro-cosmic, Kirby inspired aesthetic to portray the metaphysical nature of the virtual space these conversations take place in. It’s both an homage to the history of the medium and enormously effective.
Decorum moves so fast that at times I wonder where it’s going. In addition to the finding of the egg, Neha’s training was expedited. I don’t know if I should be disappointed in the brevity or excited to see where the story is headed. It seems like we’re not yet to the meat of the story but rather still setting the foundation for the story that Hickman eventually wants to tell. The characters are great. The world building is great. The art is great. These factors all make Decorum more than palatable. I’m just a little surprised to feel like we’re still setting the stage at issue #7 and after the comic has been going for a year.
While I am torn by the deus ex machina employed to make Neha, the least experienced of the Sisterhood of Man’s members, the finder of the egg, the plot developments of issue #7 are consequential. The Church of the Singularity threatening the lives of the entire Sisterhood of Man, the entire Sisterhood targeting Neha, these things can’t be undone. I look forward to finding out where this will go. I’m especially eager to find out what Imogen’s response to these developments will be. Decorum #8 is scheduled for release May 5, 2021.