Chris collects the last of the data needed to analyze and come up with a way to cure the zombies. Irel and Lamia go in search of the last remaining bottles with the blood of Jesus Christ, when they find one, they are confronted by Lamia’s opposite, Jeanne D’Arc, trained to be the ultimate killer, and with Ian’s help Lamia is killed, but Irel continues his evolution, stopping her and going after Ian, leading to the final battle that will determine who is the real God.
Raiders has been a rough ride for me. I started out detesting the series, but as a story started to emerge, I became more patient with it. Just as I thought it would be going somewhere, the title ends, but not before pulling out character and concepts from out of nowhere to accomplish it. The final battle is rather anti-climatic for all-powerful beings duking it out, but the ending is an appropriate one.
Volume 8 picks up where 7 left off with Chris and the Zombie Hunter pretty much demolishing Area 51, with some added help from Crossline, who is looking to clean up the mess. Really, this whole battle at Area 51 served no purpose other than to eat up pages. Chris gets to fight and get beat up, and call his Zombie Hunter partner Teddy Bear. But other than that, the whole search for evidence of Crossline’s wrong doing that Chris is so determined to get goes absolutely nowhere after the battle, and really feels like a waste a of time and pages.
The Zombie Hunters decipher Crossline’s date regarding the experiments on creating undead, and have found a way to turn them back to humans. All they need is a bottle of Christ’s blood, which coincidentally is all Lamia needs to become human again. So Lamia is left with the choice of saving herself or all the others who have become undead like her. Lamia shows how much she has grown with Irel’s influence, and really his friendship when she has to make a decision. She thinks of herself as a monster throughout the series, and doesn’t believe she deserves the salvation Irel wants her to have, but in the end, she makes the most human of choices, as she sacrifices herself for the good of others.
Of course, it would have been a more meaningful decision, if Ian didn’t show up with his puppet Jeanne D’Arc, a woman who was experimented on like Lamia, but with no will of her own, and with greater training to make her a threat to Lamia. She just shows up out of nowhere, and just suddenly starts tearing into Lamia and Irel. Ian helps by deflecting Irel’s bullets and shows off his ultimate power “Absolute Imperative” which allows him to permanently kill one tainted by Christ’s blood. With it, he kills Lamia and dismembers Irel, but not enough before Irel learns its secret to destroy Jeanne. I really found this battle to be the most annoying with new powers being pulled out of nowhere and thrown at the heroes just to make their positions seem more dire. It’s really just a cheap trick.
Irel decides now is the time to face Ian and stop him. Ian is waiting for him at Notre Dame. Ian is confident at first, as all villains at the beginning of the big battle, and Irel gets beat up for most of it. But Irel uses psychological as physical means to get to Ian, planting a simple seed of fear into him, one that Irel has already accepted that is Ian’s Achilles Heel and allows Irel to win the battle, but not before Notre Dame is reduced to rubble. It’s the only building to be destroyed, as their battle seems to be confided to the church. Not what one would expect from omnipotent fighters. It’s really not much of a battle, just lots of disappearing into feathers, and making weapons extend to reach the opponent.
And it’s over in only two chapters. With Irel as the winner, Judah and the others are left to wonder if Irel will take Ian’s place or if he is really different as Lamia believed. The question is never answered definitively, as Irel disappears leaving Judah with a cryptic message, but Irel’s whole character leaves one to think not. He does have one final act that shows that he is till more human than Ian ever was, and it give the series a happy ending.
Much like the series, these volumes of Raiders had their moments, but were disappointing overall. I was mostly glad for the ending, I just didn’t care for how it got there. There was too much fighting and bad plot twists that overshadowed some of the character growth. This title was about Irel and Lamia, so it’s appropriate that it ends with them. The questions of god and religion are left to the reader to decide, but I think the story took the right path to emphasize searching for the truth rather than relying on others to tell you what is true, and who or what is God. Raiders had so much potential to be a better series, but it just failed in the execution.
Review copies provided by publisher.