East Side Story: ’20XX #3′ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead
Soriya sends Mer home, where Mer reunites with Diana. The two have a heart-to-heart before Mer goes to sleep. The next day, she goes back to the West Side HQ to train her abilities with Tandai and a man named Diego. Meanwhile, an East Side friend of Soriya named Andres arrives, searching for Randall and Yara–the two East Siders killed by Mer and Lucas. He wants Soriya’s help in finding out what happened to Randall and Yara, and Soriya agrees. She goes to a friend about getting a bug to plant on someone. Elsewhere, Lucas is interrogating one of his dealers to find out how Randall and Yara found him in the first place.

20XX #3 cover by Jonathan Luna
20XX #3 cover by Jonathan Luna

20XX #3 continues to track the development of Mer’s powers as well as her status within the West Side gang. 
As one might expect, much of the comic is dedicated to Soriya’s split feelings of loyalty. She is an East Sider and she knows that Mer is a part of the West Side gang. Soriya is loyal to her gang, but she has quickly grown very fond of Mer.
Mer’s lovesick pining for Soriya is the one thing about her character that doesn’t feel thrust upon her. It still feels like Mer herself has very little agency in her own story, with Lucas, Tandai, and others pushing Mer into certain places and actions. I understand that this may be a deliberate theme, but it does leave Mer feeling a bit lackluster as a character.
This issue is also quite dialogue-heavy and that kills the pacing and sense of urgency in parts of the comic. Truth be told, a lot of this dialogue could easily be trimmed down.
Jonathan Luna’s artwork is still quite good. He has a skilled eye for detailing and physical expression. This issue could still use more shading and I still find myself wishing this comic were in color. That said, the visuals do feel markedly stronger in this issue.
20XX #3 is the strongest installment of this comic series so far. There is more conflict, action, and intrigue than in prior installments. Soriya makes for an interesting character and we get to see a lot of her in this issue. While I still have my gripes about the dialogue and shading, I can still give this one a confident recommendation. Feel free to pick it up.
20XX #3 comes to us from writers Lauren Keely and Jonathan Luna and artist, letterer, and cover artist Jonathan Luna.
Final Score: 7/10

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